By Paul Randall
In late August, 862 juniors and seniors from area high schools crossed the threshold of Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick to take the next step to improve their competitiveness in the job market and expand their post-secondary options.
Tri-Tech is a public school of choice for students from the Kennewick, Richland, Pasco, Kiona-Benton City, Finley, Columbia-Burbank, North Franklin and Prosser school districts.
Serving as a branch campus, students attend three periods at their home high school and three periods at the skills center.
Currently, Tri-Tech offers 18 high-quality industry-based Career and Technical Education, or CTE, programs — all with some aspect of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, or STEM, integrated within the programs.
Tri-Tech provides a relevant, career-connected, hands-on environment where students earn high school credit, CTE dual college credits and industry certificates before they finish high school. Tri-Tech works with post-secondary partners, community colleges (Columbia Basin College and Walla Walla Community College), apprenticeships and employers to coordinate programs to provide a more seamless transition to post-secondary training, credentialing and the world of work.
An excellent example of this coordinated effort is our pre-nursing program. Students learn basic anatomy, physiology and medical terminology, and participate in a nine-week clinical. The program, among others, is articulated with CBC and allows students to earn college credits while in high school.
Students can sit for the Certified Nursing Assistant exam, and if successful, earn their CNA license and enter the health care work force upon graduation from high school. The end result is a student who knows they have selected the right career path as they have already experienced nursing and are ready to pursue additional credentials.
Our Careers in Healthcare program is focused on providing students with a solid foundation in health care centering on electronic medical records, scheduling, billing and coding and much more.
In the program, students competed in the Verizon App Challenge where they were asked to identify real health needs that were not being addressed. The students proposed an app concept based on teen mental health called “Safe and Sound.” The concept was well received and worked its way through state, regional competitions and eventually won Best in Nation, one of only four high schools in the nation.
They worked with and interacted with MIT (yes, that MIT) to develop the app for deployment on the Google Store. In addition, Tri-Tech received a $20,000 award to support STEM endeavors. The students received Samsung Galaxy tablets and an all-expense paid trip to Dallas to present to the Technology Student Association. To cap off the strong year, they were invited to and participated in the White House Science Fair.
Another example of our students’ success involves our video game design students. They entered and won the District 4 Congressional App Challenge last spring. The team was invited to and attended the National App Challenge event in April in Washington, D.C.
Tri-Tech serves a key role in work force development for our region and state — as evidenced by our students who are app developers, team players and nationally recognized.
These students knocked on the door and took advantage of the Tri-Tech opportunity, resulting in some pretty good highlights for their resume.
[panel title="About Paul Randall:" style="info"]
Paul Randall is the director of the Tri-Tech Skills Center in Kennewick.
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