Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS), working in collaboration with Doña Ana Community College (DACC), has developed 19 different career and technical education programs of study – specialized career paths which are based on a student’s interests and talents – which will help students acquire career-oriented skills and training as part of their regular high school curriculum.

“These programs of study make post-high school career training easily accessible and attainable for all students,” said LCPS Secondary Instruction Coordinator Lane Widner. “Not only do the programs of study better prepare students for post-secondary training, certifications and degrees, they also establish career paths that will help the students attain the high-skill, high-wage careers that are in demand here in Doña Ana County.”

The 19 newly developed programs of study include career paths in: aerospace technology, automation and manufacturing, automotive, agricultural studies/building construction, computer information systems, creative media technology, criminal justice, culinary foods, drafting, early childhood education, education and training, electrical programs, electronics (pre-electronic engineering), health (pre-med), hospitality, agricultural studies/HVAC, water systems and welding.

Although a variety of career and technical training programs are already in place at LCPS schools, the development of the programs of study helps both LCPS and DACC refine what dual-credit courses are offered, ensuring that the students receive the coursework and training needed to help them achieve their career goals, he said.

As part of the state-mandated New Mexico Next Step Plan – a personal, written plan that is developed by each student at the end of grades eight through 11 and during the student’s senior year – all New Mexico high school students complete career interest surveys and then select a program of study which aligns with their talents and interests. In order to meet the standards set by the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED), the programs of study were also designed to align with regional workforce needs in Doña Ana County.

“In addition to providing classroom training for the students, many of these programs of study also offer hands-on experience through internship and career placement opportunities with our community partners,” Widner said. “

The nearly two-year long process of developing of the programs of study is part of a statewide push by the PED to strengthen career and technical education at the high-school level.

By 2020, 65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require post-secondary education and training beyond high school, according to a 2013 study by The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, an independent, nonprofit research and policy institute.

For more information, contact LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren, pdahlgren@lcps.net, (575) 527-5808.