Swan Falls High School leads students to career opportunities

Posted at 8:19 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 22:19:24-05

KUNA — Swan Falls High School is currently in Phase I of their plans for the career technical high school. It can house up to 450 students, and they'll have career and technical education programs, including a trades and industry course.

"That will engage students early on in an exploration of all kinds of different trades within the construction field area that will then move into deeper learning," said career and technical administrator for the district Mike Wiedenfeld.

They've outgrown the Kuna High School campus for these programs, plus they want to expand what they're offering to match current industry needs. The school will also have automotive and diesel technology classes, as well as healthcare-related courses for physical therapy and dental assistant programs.

"We're really going to have our trades and industry programs over there, our healthcare programs over there, and then currently with this expansion we'll leave our ag and welding programs will stay housed at Kuna High School," said Wiedenfeld.

Students could spend one day on campus and then the entire next day at an industry experience.

"Internship or even more than a day job shadow is really a job interview for a kid," said Wiedenfeld.

More facilities and spots available in programs after high school, which Governor Little recommends in his budget, would also benefit these kids after they graduate if they want to get their associates or bachelors in the field of their choice.

Governor Little recommends $6 million for career technical education facilities at the College of Eastern Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College, and the Department of Juvenile Corrections.

"As we get better and better at the secondary level about providing more and more students to kind of fill that, if there's a roadblock for kids just to get in, they're going to do something else," said Wiedenfeld.

The future isn't linear for any career, but the hands-on experience they'll get is both a resume booster and an open door into different industries.

"We also are going to need more than just whats based on the growth of Idaho, we also need to be e able to fill those positions as people come out of the industry," said Wiedenfeld.

Statewide, high school students concentrating on CTE programs perform well; 96% graduate from high school and 64% went on to college, compared to 48% of all Idaho high school graduates.