Arizona students learn valuable tools in JTED programs

(Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

This is not your father's classroom.

This is a construction class at West Mec and these young students are learning to build a small house from scratch. They love what they're doing because its fun and it's about as hands-on as a classroom can get.

Imagine being a young student like Jacob Brooks and already knowing what you want to do. He and the other construction students are off to a great start.

Many of them go to high school and then come here to polish their skills.


Jacob says he's always liked the construction and really enjoys learning everything about building a house.

From the plans to the framing and everything else. These students also use the nicest tools available.

Their instructor Doug Markham says when you start teaching these students at a young age and give them lab time, the sky is the limit.

And its the same enthusiasm over in the nursing program, where Vanessa Martinez already knows she wants to be a nurse practitioner and she's still in high school.

In 2012, the state cut funding to technical education courses like construction and nursing and others for 9th graders. At the time, they were trying to save money and some felt 9th grade was too young for these classes.

Senator Sylvia Allen is pushing for SB 1269, which would restore some of that 9th-grade funding. Senator Allen says the industry is constantly saying they need more skilled workers and teaching students starting in 9th grade is a good move.

And of course, Gregory Donovan, superintendent at West Mec, agrees the earlier, the better for students. Donovan says career and technical education programs are vital for a career pathway and it's never too early to start looking at the options out there.

In the meantime, Jacob will finish his studies here and already has a job waiting for him with a masonry company and his instructor knows any company would be happy with these students because they're reaching that bar no matter how high its raised.

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