(Seguin) -- Local manufacturing, health and education stakeholders recently joined forces to showcase real career options to local eighth graders. Depending on their personal interest, the eighth grade students from Seguin ISD and Navarro ISD participated in either a manufacturing or healthcare bus tour.The tours were part of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month which recognizes educational programs that prepare students to be college and career-ready.
During the manufacturing tour, students visited the Central Texas Technology Center, Minigrip, Cargill, Continental Automotive Systems, Rave Gears, EPMP, CMC Steel Texas, Alamo Group and the City of Seguin Utilities Operations Center.
Josh Schneuker, executive director of the Seguin Economic Development Corporation, says by partnering with the business community, CTE programs are investing in students and providing them with the latest technology and skills that will prepare them to become successful employees and future leaders.
"I think they're just a wonderful idea and a great example of the teamwork and collaboration that we have going on right now between all the economic development partners within the community -- the chamber, the EDC, the city and the ISDs and of course, our businesses. We know how important workforce development initiatives are and creating a talent pipeline in order to fill the jobs that are open today and also the jobs for the future as well. So this, we believe is a great step in that direction of really creating that strong talent pipeline," said Schneuker.
Mary Andrews, manager of customer general services for Alamo Group Industrial, stated the tours are a win-win for students and the businesses. She says the students get to be exposed to all the great manufacturing job opportunities that surround them. She says Alamo Group not only gets to show them why they would want to work for them but is also there to explain how to make it happen.
Schneuker, who joined the manufacturing tour, says he was impressed by the students' interest as well as their surprise to what all Seguin has to offer.
"It's wonderful to see how enthusiastic the kids were about just learning a little bit more about what goes on really in their own backyard, learning about some of these great companies and the values that they have -- the career pathways that are available to people who are working at these facilities. The questions they asked, the enthusiasm they showed, we couldn't ask for anything more," said Schneuker.
On the healthcare tour, 180 students were invited to tour Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, Guadalupe Valley Nursing Center and the Texas Lutheran University Nursing Program.
Chelsea Grayson, GRMC director of marketing, shared both clinical and non-clinical opportunities that come with a career in healthcare. Grayson says it was a pleasure "to interact with the next generation of workforce professionals and be able to present what GRMC is all about: offering advanced medicine with a personal touch."
CTE programs encompass 94 percent of high school students and 13 million postsecondary students in the United States. It includes comprehensive high schools, career technical centers, community and technical colleges, and four-year universities.
Schneuker says continuing this partnership across the community is only the beginning to securing futures and meeting the demands of the city.
"We're going to keep working together as a team. All of us within this region, whether it's us, the chamber, the school districts and the businesses -- we have a goal and the only way we're going to work straight from our talent pipeline is by working together. I want to thank everybody whose really made this whole project such a strong endeavor. We're going to continue to move things forward and hopefully roll out with some new initiatives, but continue to do these bus tours in the future as well," said Schneuker.
City of Seguin officials says CTE is a major part of the solution to myriad national economic and workforce problems, such as high school dropout rates, a weakened economy, and global competitiveness. They say at a time when opportunity for employment is so critical, CTE programs in every community are ensuring students are equipped with the skills to successfully enter the workforce.