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YUHSD CTE continues growth in industry credentials, enrollment

YHS students at Cell Block storeOver the past half decade, Yuma Union High School District’s Career & Technical Education program has emerged as one of the leaders in the state in both industry credentials and student enrollment.

Since 2015, the program, which currently includes 383 sections across all six YUHSD schools, has seen a 51.2 percent increase in student enrollment, vaulting from 5,097 to 7,708 students taking at least one CTE class. Additionally, students earned 584 industry certifications in 2022, compared to 40 in 2015.

“After a review of the data, we were surprised to discover a 1,360 percent growth of industry certifications earned by our students,” CTE Executive Director Lorie Honeycutt said.

For the graduating class of 2021, 90 percent of YUHSD CTE students left high school with at least one industry credential compared to a state average rate of 88 percent. While comparatively better than the state average, YUHSD’s number was down 8.3 percent from the previous year, something Honeycutt attributed to school closures and modifications required by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The good news is this school year our teachers and students have been incredibly busy,” Honeycutt said. “100 percent of our CTE program are now offering an industry-recognized certification and we expect the graduating class 2022 to surpass all previous years’ data.”

Currently, 25 CTE programs in YUHSD offer a total of 62 industry certifications. This ranges from the OSHA 10 – Agriculture; National Safe Tractor & Machinery Operation Certificate; and "Worker Protection Handler Verification Card" through the Agriscience program to the OSHA 10 – Healthcare; "Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS);" and Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA) through the Medical Assisting Services program. YUHSD is expected to add five more certifications in the coming year.

More about CTE

All CTE programs are state-approved and include a coherent sequence of courses leading to student attainment of the state standards in the program. CTE offers courses with industry-current curricula and state-of-the-art equipment. Upon graduation, students are prepared to transition successfully to postsecondary education and are equipped with the necessary skills to begin working in a specific career. Many programs offer opportunities for students to earn college credits through dual enrollment while enrolled in CTE classes.

Additionally, CTE students have opportunities to participate in the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSO) that are directly related to their program. DECA, FBLA, FCCLA, FFA, Educators Rising, HOSA and SkillsUSA are recognized as integral parts of the CTE programs and provide career and leadership development, motivation, and recognition. In addition, these organizations provide students with the opportunity to compete at the local, regional, state, and national levels.

Eric Patten