February is Career and Technical Education Month

By: Maria Allard | Warren Weekly | Published February 21, 2016

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WARREN/CENTER LINE — This month, students in the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium have been in the spotlight, as February has been designated Career and Technical Education Month.

SMTEC is a partnership between the Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke and Warren Woods districts that provides career technical education (CTE) to 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students.

Students can enroll in the CTE classes in another district if their home school or district does not offer the classes they select. According to school officials, bus transportation is provided for students taking classes outside of their district.

The CTE classes are categorized into six career pathways: arts and communication; business management, marketing and technology; engineering/manufacturing and industrial technology; health sciences; human services; and natural resources and agriscience. SMTEC offers courses in each of these areas except for natural resources and agriscience.

During the Feb. 8 Van Dyke Public Schools Board of Education meeting, several students and their teachers from SMTEC gave brief presentations on the programs to the board and audience members.

Lincoln High School teacher Brad Pollum and senior James Sewell shared information about the automotive technology program. After school, Sewell works at Southfield Chrysler, doing things like performing oil changes and rotating tires.

LHS manufacturing teacher Mike Sisco and senior Walter Moss talked about the school’s computer numerical control program.

“They really need workers in this industry,” said Sisco, who added that he preaches to his students the importance of being punctual. Another important aspect is safety, Moss said.

Dental assistant students Mirna Alsabbagh and Marissa Barriuso shared details about their class.

“It gives us a feeling of an actual job and what we have to do in a dental office,” Alsabbagh said. Their presentation included educational material on the importance of dental hygiene.

Morgan Statkus and Laura Brock, who are in Ramon Herrera’s culinary arts program inside the Van Dyke Public Schools Career and Technology Mark A. Kedzior Center, located next to LHS, brought some cannoli bite treats to share. The board also heard from SMTEC teachers James Haas and Fred Cook, and computer-aided design student Heaven Lipford.

Several of the SMTEC Health Occupations Students of America students had an exciting start to Career and Technical Education Month when they competed and medaled in the regional HOSA competition Feb. 6 at Fraser High School.

They talked about their experience while in nursing assistant class Feb. 10 at Warren Woods Tower High School. SMTEC student Hira Khan, who attends CLHS, said she and Amber Smiley finished in first place on the competition’s emergency medical technician test.

“I was really happy,” Khan said. “I wasn’t expecting first place.”

Khan would like to become a pediatric surgeon. Her interest in the health field developed when she broke her arm in the fifth grade.

“At the hospital, they were so nice to me,” the high school junior said. “A couple years ago, my mom was pregnant and she broke her knee at the same time.”

Again, the care her mother received from the medical staff left an impression.

“It was a good experience going to the hospital,” Khan said. “Doctors always inspire me.” The SMTEC EMT and nursing assistant programs, she said, “will help give me skills and experience for the future.”

CLHS senior Alexandra Walden attends Fitzgerald High School in the morning as a pharmacy student, attends CLHS for her core classes, and then finishes out the day at WWTHS in the nursing assistant program. Her plan is to attend the University of Toledo to study cosmetic formulation and pharmaceutical sciences.

Walden said cosmetic formulation is the creation of lotions, hair products, topical creams and much more. She got a taste of college life when she attended a pharmacy camp at the college last summer. She prefers working behind-the-scenes in a laboratory.

“The lab is where I want to be,” said Walden, who finished in fourth place in pharmacy at the HOSA competition. “I just like the sterile environment. I love being enclosed and making sure everything is done sterile and correctly.”

One aspect the students enjoy about the nursing assistant program is going out in the field doing clinicals. WWTHS senior Diana Evans was in the program last year and completed her clinical at the Shelby Crossing Nursing Home in Shelby Township, where she worked one-on-one with patients. Evans, who is the HOSA vice president, said she was nervous when she first enrolled in the nursing assistant class, but then she opened up.

“I really wanted to help people. That was my motivation,” she said when visiting the class Feb. 10. “We learned a lot of what you would use in the health field. I loved it. It was the best thing I have taken in high school.”

In August, she passed the state’s nursing assistant test.

“I can get a job in a hospital or a long care facility,” she said. Evans has been accepted to Ferris State University. She would like to be a teacher, possibly one who teaches nursing. She also would like to work in the health field while in college.

For further information on the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium, visit www.smteccte.org.

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