When it opens for the 2022-23 school year, the Career Technology Education Center Hobbs will host a variety of paths for students to prepare for careers after high school.
And the Hobbs Municipal Schools Board of Education learned more about what those pathways will look like Tuesday. CTECH Principal, and HMS Operations Director, Zeke Kaney presented the new course guide and more to the board during its regular meeting at the HMS Central Office.
The course guide lists details and prerequisites for a variety of disciplines to be taught — from transportation to manufacturing, and energy to culinary arts and hospitality — Kaney told the board in what was the first regular quarterly report on CTECH to the board.
His presentation included a description of future expectations for the regular reports, Kaney said.
At the heart of those expectations is the CTECH Steering Committee, comprised of “capital partners” in the project now and moving forward. Those include the JF Maddox Foundation, the City of Hobbs, Permian Strategic Partnership and the Lea County Economic Development Corporation.
“A big piece of what makes CTECH successful is the relationships we have in the community,” Kaney said. “The capital partners are really driving this right now … and our industry partners helped drive the pathways development.”
Students will begin receiving application invitations and course guides after they return to school from the holiday break in January, Kaney said, with registration scheduled to begin in February.
Faculty — the majority of whom are already hired, he said — are scheduled to begin moving into the facility along with equipment for the various programs in April.
While full details are yet to be worked out, Kaney told the board, a grand opening for the CTECH facility is scheduled for May 5.
The CTECH program and course guide “is pretty impressive, I think, for our first run at it,” Kaney said. “These are relatively simple pathways but they do guide students in what they’re doing.
“What’s unique to the course guide, it not only explains what the course is,” he said. “More importantly it talks about what certifications are attached to the courses.”
Depending on the discipline, Kaney explained, students would be able to receive professional certifications for coursework upon graduation. Those certifications will help students as they depart the world of academia to start their careers, he said.
The catalog also lists what prerequisite courses students must have prior to beginning training at CTECH, Kaney said. The catalog was scheduled to be presented to the Hobbs High School Curriculum Committee on Wednesday and to administration at New Mexico Junior College on Friday with an eye toward developing additional dual credit program cooperation between Hobbs Schools and the junior college. The district is also working with New Mexico State for dual credit options in the hospitality pathway.
“We’re hoping to be able to offer some great courses at the high school that will also convert to dual credit opportunities for our kids,” Kaney said.
Also in the works for CTECH programs is establishing partnerships for internships and apprenticeships for students as part of their regular course of study.
Internships would be shorter-term arrangements with businesses or companies to let students gain experience and may or may not be paid.
Apprenticeships would be longer-term, more immersive partnerships with employers and typically earn a salary or wage, Kaney said.
“And, to entice businesses to participate in apprenticeships, Workforce Connections (part of the New Mexico Deprtment of Workforce Solutions) could pay as much as half of the apprentice’s salary or wage,” he said. “Worforce Connections would help us monitor what the apprenticeship is going to be. If we pay for two years of a student to apprentice as a diesel technician, for example, we want that student to go to a shop and work on engines, not just be sweeping the floor.”
Kaney also told the board the district is enjoying some “wins” in terms of the project budget, with “construction tracking as we’d hoped. We got most of our materials prior to the (construction industry) craziness, so we haven’t experienced much increase in prices.”
Not having to deal with elevated costs allowed the district to set aside some $5 million initially earmarked for construction into a fund to provide for future budgetary needs for the CTECH program, Kaney said.
And the district will be able to utilize federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act and other monies specifically earmarked to support career and technical education programs to fund equipment and other needs, he said.
“And we’re continuing to create and acquire new partnerships,” Kaney said. “The more they hear about what we’re doing the more (businesses and companies) realize the advantage to them to give back and share their experience with us.”