La Vista and La Sierra High Schools are launching a third Career Technical Education course this school year to give at-risk and continuity students real-world work experience.
A new Graphics Production Technologies program will give teenagers access to color printing services and put them “on the path to finding skilled employment”, said Principal Sandi Layana.
“There’s a lot of research and evidence to suggest that (career technology education) can be particularly effective for at-risk students,” Layana said. “It offers positive social change, hands-on experience and a sense of belonging instead of alienation.”
Over the past 18 months, school and district officials have sought similar career paths at other campuses in the Fullerton Joint Union High School District, which serves Buena Park, Fullerton and La Habra.
Layana, Deputy Principal Gary Day and District Educational Services Director Steve Zamora designed a program for La Vista and La Sierra and in June announced its 2017-18 debut.
Scheduled to serve approximately 150 sophomores, juniors and seniors, the two-year program will be offered alongside the schools’ video production and child care pathways.
“We are very excited to implement this cutting-edge program, which will give our children an opportunity that can lend them a living wage,” Layana said.
Knowledge of digital printing is particularly valuable these days, with industry professionals predicting job growth of 28% by 2020, district employees said.
“It’s not just about putting something on a copier and printing it out,” said trustee Joanne Fawley. “It’s much more complicated than that. The problem-solving, planning, and collaborative skills developed through the use of this equipment will keep these kids moving forward even if they don’t choose this as their future job.
Having received $350,000 to implement the program, the district also expects to save money on color printing costs by having students prepare materials such as tickets to district events and graduation programs.
Graduates interested in careers in graphic production can join a print technology program at Fullerton College – a partnership that Fawley is particularly enthusiastic about.
The transition from college readiness, she said, “is a win for everyone: for the economy, for the students, for society, for the community.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find a real career path,” she added. “It’s really a good one.”