There is something good happening at Robstown High School; that is, our students are enrolled in Career and Technology Education courses.

As you walk down the hallway in the Career and Technology Education building or go into the classrooms emanating is a positive learning energy. Students are at task and applying skills learned in the classroom and shops.

Indeed, Career and Technology Education programs are available to all students at the high school and junior high school. You may be asking: "What is Career and Technology Education?" Well, it is our duty to enable our students to gain marketable skills as they prepare for their postsecondary educational endeavors.

Our students are provided the opportunity to learn about career pathways, develop employability traits, and participate in community and leadership activities through student organizations correlated with their chosen careers.

Our RISD Career and Technology Education programs offer Business Education and Technology Education to seventh- and eighth-grade students at Seale Junior High. At the high school campus, C&TE programs are agricultural science technology, business education, family consumer science, health science technology, and trade and industrial.

These programs offer diverse career clusters to our students. The opportunity to develop an appreciation and understanding of work ethics, positive attitude for work, safety, and occupational competencies is communicated in all C&TE courses. There is an enrollment of 766 students in the various course offerings. Our expectations for our student performance are based on work and post-secondary standards. C&TE courses are linked to post-secondary institution partnerships: state-wide and local Tech Prep articulations.

These articulations provide great benefits to our students with college course credit and tuition savings. Recognizing the current workforce demand for skilled competent employees, we are in the process of creating a partnership with Craft Training Center to give our students the technical training and certification in the field of welding and instrumentation. In addition to these avenues, students enrolled in computer maintenance prepare for the Industry A+ Computer Maintenance certification examination; health science students prepare for medical careers through clinical rotations and may apply for nursing or pharmacy technician certification; and cosmetology students upon graduation are eligible for licensure examinations.

Considering the current needs of our workforce and desiring the best education for our students, program advisory committees have been established to strengthen our course offerings, career awareness and guidance, define our goals, and evaluate our facilities.

Every year we are very proud of our students' participation at their competitive leadership conferences at district, regional, state and nationals. Each program sponsors a co-curricular student organization and it is uplifting to have our students at district and state competition earning medals, trophies, and scholarships. This year, the Building Trades Chapter advanced to nationals with its Chapter Display. These students will represent Robstown High School at the national conference in Kansas City, Missouri during the week of June 23.

To honor our C&TE students for their academic and co-curricular participation, students are nominated to our National Technical Honor Society. Overall, our Career and Technology Education programs are designed to encourage our students to build a solid career and educational investment for their future.

Roberto Garcia is the superintendent for the Robstown Independent School District. Readers may contact him via telephone at 767-6600, ext. 2223.