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Colorado School District Sees Growing Interest in CTE Center

A Colorado school district's new career and technical education center allows students to earn post-secondary credits and certifications in fields such as information technology and cybersecurity.

career technical education
(TNS) — Teachers and students at Greeley-Evans School District 6's Career and Technical Education Center are seeing early success in career pathways, according to a presentation at the Board of Education meeting Monday night.

District 6 President Michael Mathews opened the meeting, which fell on the 22nd anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, with a message to remember and recognize the events and lives lost that day.

"The things that divide us are not nearly as great, are not nearly as significant as the things that unite us," Mathews said.

After the declaration from Mathews, board members heard an update on the new CTE Center, which has been open for almost a month. CTE staff members provided updates and showcased a new video of the Center, which opened its doors in August at a facility shared with Jefferson High School at 235 14th Ave., in Greeley.

The CTE Center, the first facility of its kind in the school district, has five pathways: welding, cosmetology, education, information technology/cybersecurity and construction/electrical.

A teacher and student from each career pathway addressed the board and attendees, discussing the unique educational opportunities that allow students to earn post-secondary credits, as well as industry certificates.

The welding pathway has 30 students enrolled for the 2023-24 school year. CTE students can earn up to 41 concurrent enrollment credits, which gives high school students a chance to earn high school and college credits.

Cosmetology has 22 students enrolled. By the end of the program, students can leave high school with all the requirements needed to take the state's cosmetology licensure exam, according to cosmetology teacher Julie Rhine. Due to a high demand for stylists, Rhine said, students are likely to find employment quickly once they're licensed.

Many cosmetology programs in the area cost about $35,000 to attend, board member Brenda Campos-Spitze said, while District 6's CTE program is free to those who want a career in the field.

The electrical pathway has 19 students enrolled and can offer up to 32 concurrent enrollment credits, along with electrical certificates. Matthew Weber, CTE construction and electrical teacher, helped launch Jefferson High School's Construction Management Pathway several years ago.

This course helped students learn construction-related trades and created a partnership with the Greeley-Weld Habitat for Humanity. Now, the program has moved over to a site at the CTE Center that is much larger, safer and has a room filled with millions of dollars in tools to train students in a sheltered environment, Weber said.

Enrique, a senior at Northridge High School who's enrolled in the construction pathway at the Center, told the board he went from having no knowledge about the pathway to learning about the ins and outs of the occupation all within the first few weeks of school.

"It's been a blessing to me," he said.

The Teacher CADET program has nine students enrolled this school year. Students can earn up to 16 concurrent enrollment credits, as well as industry credentials. This pathway hopes to fill an increasing need for teachers amid a nationwide shortage by growing future educators through a more affordable and faster process to earn teacher credentials and a college degree.

In the Center's cybersecurity pathway, students can earn up to 16 concurrent enrollment credits, along with industry credentials. There are 21 students enrolled, including Connor, a Northridge Junior, who's completing the full two-year program. Connor thought the Center would be a great opportunity to learn about a topic that has always been interested in without any cost to him or his family. Since school started, his class has been breezing through course modules, Connor said. This includes learning how to build a computer from the ground up and how to troubleshoot technology problems.

Though the new school only opened about a month ago, applications for the Center's 2024-25 school year will open from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31.


The Board of Education proclaimed Sept. 15-Oct. 15 as National Hispanic Month on Monday, with board member Natalie Mash reading the proclamation in English, followed by a reading in Spanish from Campos-Spitze.

In District 6, 69.93 percent of students are Hispanic — about 22,000 students in total, according to Campos-Spitze.

"I'm really proud to share that cultural background with students," she said.

Luis Camas, the district's director of cultural excellence and parent engagement, introduced Greeley members and three students of the League of United Latin American Citizens, also known as LULAC, to accept the proclamation. As one of the largest and oldest Latino organizations, LULAC facilitates youth councils to help students further their education, including granting students scholarships.

LULAC awarded $500 scholarships to four students this year.


Aetna awarded District 6's wellness team with a Worksite Wellness Platinum Award. The district was one of 18 districts to win a platinum award, the highest distinction.

This is the second year in a row the district's team has won platinum. In 2020 and 2021, the team also took home "gold" awards.

Board of Education meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month inside the District 6 Administration Building, 1025 9th Ave., in Greeley.

©2023 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.