High school, college students emphasize career and technical education at the ND Capitol

BISMARCK, ND (KUMV) – February is National Career and Technical Education Month. They are courses that give students the opportunity to study a specific career field. Lawmakers had a chance to learn about some of those lessons at the Capitol.

Today, North Dakota schools teach more than just math and English. Ruby Lawton is part of Williston High School’s EMT course, the first of its kind in the state.

“We’re doing spinal immobilization, so riding. We have patient assessment, splinting and CPR,” Lawton said.

Last week, students participating in vocational and technical education courses had the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they learned to members of the Legislative Assembly. Some classes included videography, automation, and aviation.

“I flew professionally for 25 years. I’ve spent a lot of time in simulators over the years, and they’re worth it,” said Ron Gehrig, the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms.

These classes allow students to explore career paths and give them a head start in training.

“I moved here last year and my old school didn’t have anything like this. When I got here, it got me interested,” said Tysen Kuchenbuch, a senior at Watford City High School who is taking Discovery and Industrial Careers classes.

And with labor shortages across the country, being able to provide these opportunities helps keep the workforce local.

“I wish everyone was as excited about their classes as I am about seeing these kids get excited about what they’re doing. I think this sends a good message to the workforce of the future. “When they’re that excited and occasionally they come out of high school and can fill some of those positions, I think that’s a good thing for the state,” said Sen. Brad Beckedahl, R-Williston.

Wade Sick, director of the North Dakota Department of Education, said he thinks it’s important for students to talk to lawmakers and show them what their funding is doing.

Several bills related to CTE are being considered in committees. Gov. Doug Burgum signed a bill earlier this month funding several career academies.

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