Originally Published: September 20, 2015 11:51 p.m.
If past results are any indication, the high school students enrolled in technical education classes at Yavapai College this semester through the Mountain Institute Joint Technical Education District (MIJTED) will take a giant step forward on their career path.
Mountain Institute, one of 14 Arizona JTEDs (Joint Technical Education Districts), serves high-school eligible students in western Yavapai County, including public, private, charter, home school and accommodation school students. Education partners include Yavapai College and Unified School Districts in Ash Fork, Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer, Prescott and Seligman.
Thanks to JTED, some 240 students from these school districts are currently enrolled-at no cost to them-in classes at Yavapai College. The students will be earning college credits and taking classes ranging from aviation to welding at the YC Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC) near the Prescott airport. The high school students will be in the same classes that college-age students and adults are taking. For many, it's an eye-opening experience.
"Blending secondary JTED students with traditional post-secondary students has proven to be valuable in that it gives both entities a different perspective on the age demographics of the workforce, while raising the bar for secondary students, placing them with adults and seeing for the first time who their true competition is in the workforce," explains John Morgan, YC dean of career and technical education. "They quickly find that the workforce is not the secondary student sitting next to them. Rather, it's a very diversified group of people who already have considerable work experience. Adults benefit from tech-savvy youth while youth benefit from the lifelong experiences of adults who have already been in the workforce."
The Mountain Institute JTED was approved by voters in the November 2008 general election and began classes during the 2009-10 school year.
The program has produced numerous success stories during its brief history. During the 2014-15 academic year, for instance, 70 percent of MIJTED students earned one or more industry certifications, and 13 of MIJTED's 17 programs were ranked first or second in the state.
Individual stories are even more compelling.
Miles Mabey, who took YC pre-engineering classes while a student at Tri-City Prep High School in Prescott, realized the benefit of the program while studying robotic engineering at ASU. "It was an amazing first year," Mabey wrote in an email to his YC instructor, Rick Peters. "I definitely wouldn't have been as successful as I was without your classes in the pre-engineering program. They have more than prepared me for college. I find myself wishing many times that the engineers that end up on my team went through this program. It gave me confidence and knowledge beyond my peers. Thank you for being an amazing teacher who challenged his students and is a role model and mentor."
Jackie Beltran, a senior at Chino Valley High School, is beginning her second year in the Aviation Technologies program. She is the first MIJTED student to complete and pass the written exam required by the Federal Aviation Administration as the first step toward earning a private pilot license. Jackie was awarded a Discovery Flight from North-Aire Aviation in Prescott, allowing her to learn aircraft controls, engage in flight planning and perform pre-flight checks.
Dalen Warburton began taking welding classes at YC while a student at Mayer High School. Earlier this year he achieved 6G certification, which is required for the top-paying welding jobs. All told, he has earned some 22 certifications along the way. He's now enrolled at Yavapai College, pursuing an AA degree in Industrial Machining and planning to go after a degree in underwater welding thereafter.
Delia Sotelo graduated in 2014 from Chino Valley High School after completing two years of Education Professions and two years of Culinary Arts at MIJTED. She is pursuing a degree at Yavapai College in Elementary Education with a Bilingual Endorsement. Delia received the 2015 Prospective Teacher Scholarship from the Education Scholarship Endowment of Yavapai County, and was awarded $1,500 toward her continuing education.
Information about the MIJTED is available on its web site at www.mijted.net or by calling 928-771-0791.