Stockton students explore vocational technical education options

Stockton Unified’s vocational technical education courses aim to prepare students for specific careers.

STOCKTON, Calif. β€” Pittman Charter School student Kaniya Flores may only be in 8th grade, but the Stockton teenager is already thinking about her plans after high school. Some of those career options were on display Wednesday at a Stockton Unified School District Career Technical Education (CTE) showcase.

“The most exciting thing for me was definitely exploring some of my interests like business management or some medical courses,” Flores said. “Today was fun.”

For nearly five hours, hundreds of Stockton Unified 8th graders filled a warehouse at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds where teachers and high school students set up exhibits showcasing the district’s CTE courses.

The courses offered represent 12 different industry sectors, from construction and welding to healthcare, automotive technology, computer programming and more.

For many students, the courses provide a hands-on approach to learning careers in the classroom. District CTE program administrator Nathan Haley says classes play an important role in preparing students.

“We find that’s where the rubber meets the road for a lot of kids,” Haley said. “We want students to find a career and find a career that they’re happy with and want to pursue that they’re passionate about, so I think it’s a very exciting time.”

Angel Garcia, an 8th grader at Pittman Charter School agrees.

“It was fun, I experienced different activities that they do in high schools. Some fun activities I was interested in,” Garcia said as he walked out of the showcase on Wednesday. β€œIn my opinion, I feel like it will be more interesting and fun to experience the things that I can learn.”

Garcia says her favorite classes from the showcase were technical classes, one of which included a 3D printing station.

With miniature robots being piloted on the warehouse floor, popular songs being remixed live, bricks being assembled, and wooden objects being handcrafted, the class options presented to students were vast.

Thanks to the event, Flores says she thinks she knows which box to tick when enrolling in high school classes later this school year and possibly which career path to follow.

“At this point, I think I could end up somewhere in the medical field every year,” Flores said. “It will be a privilege because you know, not everyone can do that.”

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