Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Skill Center

There are high school students in our house, so we got a robocall and an email about the Skill Center.

Here is the text for those who are interested:
Starting now, students who will have at least 10 credits OR are at least 16 years old may enroll in the new Seattle Public Schools SKILLS CENTER for next fall.  A skills center is a public school opportunity for a student to take advanced Career and Technical Education courses.  Students must still have a home school where they meet the rest of their graduation requirements.  In other words, you cannot earn a diploma at a skills center, but it enriches the offerings of our existing high schools. It prepares students for college and for careers that are in high demand.  All courses are cross-credited.  Courses are almost three hours long and in the afternoon, so students can really be immersed in their studies.

You can choose from one of the following programs:
  • Digital Animation + Game Design
  • Medical Careers
  • Aerospace Science and Technology
  • Computer programming and networking.
These are highly motivating advanced programs which prepare students for high demand careers.

Students who graduate with SKILLS CENTER courses on their transcripts leave high school with more than a diploma – they’ll have specific career experience and skills, industry certifications and college credit.

Talk to your counselor now about enrolling. Space is limited.


Melissa Westbrook said...

I do wish that the digital animation and game design was NOT a choice. There aren't that many jobs in those fields.

I wish it was more Maritime training (there are a lot of varied port jobs) or something else.

I hope to meet with the head of CTE and ask him about all the details as I think these kinds of offerings are important to students.

Syd said...

Are you kidding? These are web dev skills. You can work at many internet companies with these skills. There is also the movie industry.... and of course actual game design.

Not that I think maritime training is not valuable. It certainly is.

Name said...

video game and animation are taking over the entertainment business - lots of great jobs there and the skills one learns using the technology can be applied to other tech skills. Many companies are moving their training to video game developers because there is research that shows that people learn better in gaming environments than seminar training. Its also a more transferable job than maritime training. I wish there was an electrical repair technician option since that is a useful career and its great for students who are mechanically gifted.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I stand corrected. I asked my husband (Dr. Computer Science) and yes, digital animation and game design does have many different job options. So, good job.

SolvayGirl said...

I imagine the digital animation skills will be learned at Digi-pen which is located in Seattle Center. They are already offering courses to kids at Center School, I think. They had a booth at the Arts College Fair.

dan dempsey said...

There seem to be jobs in Automotive both for body work and mechanical service repair. Is it not possible to do this at a skills center? Or is this happening at existing high schools?

anonymous said...

"and yes, digital animation and game design does have many different job options. "

Thanks for acknowledging that there are many jobs options in this field. The thing that I wonder about, since these courses are meant to be taken in place of college is are these job opportunities available to kids with just a HS diploma or would those kids be competing with college grads?

I wonder if HS grads (without a college degree) would be more competitive in the Maritime field than in a high tech field?


anonymous said...

And from the district website CTE page

And look, there’s MORE on the way:
Green Energy
Green Engineering
Marketing and Retail
Sustainable Construction Business and Entrepreneurship
Fire Science
Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Culinary Arts
Hospitality, Travel and Tourism
Green Manufacturing
Low Impact Transportation


Kate Martin said...

Multiple pathways are the way to go and the more the better.

I guess culinary arts is there because we can't seem to have enough restaurants and they need cooks. The sad part is directing kids there because the pay is very low and the conditions / hours are pretty nasty. Movement would be from 3rd cook at minimum wage to 1st cook at $15. Very few sous chef positions are available. Those pay a little better. There are probably less than 2 dozen executive chef jobs that actually pay well in Seattle. The cooking shows have fueled the fire, I suppose, and I'm all for cooking at home, but the culinary field is pretty nasty.

SolvayGirl said...

I don't know about the digital animation field, but graphic design jobs almost always require a 4-yr degree—even though some schools like SCCC offer a stellar two-year program.

I suspect that because digital animation is still relatively new, talent and a strong portfolio could win out. There are not a lot of "oldsters" out there with experience with the latest animation software.

But the reality of today's job market is that there will be at least 50–100 applicants for every opening. I would think the digital animation aspect would be more likely to let a student explore it and see if they have the capacity for it. It could help them build a portfolio to get into another, more advanced program or college.

mirmac1 said...

Jon Stewart cracked me up the other day. He was talking about Technical HS. He said: "First we tell children 'you can do ANYTHING, BE ANYTHING!', then we say 'okay, we've concluded you can do eight things.'" : [

Carol Simmons said...

Has it been announced where the skill center will be located? Will transportation be provided?

Jet City mom said...

Glad to see the aerospace science. Boeing is just desperate for replacements for their aging workforce.

Eric B said...

"I wonder if HS grads (without a college degree) would be more competitive in the Maritime field than in a high tech field?"

Depends a bit on what the student wants to do. Going in as a deckhand on a boat (tug, cargo, fishing), they would be on a fairly level playing field, especially if the CTE gives them the basic safety training that is required. While you can get from being a deckhand to being licensed (captain/mate/licensed engineer), it's somewhat more difficult. SCCC has a maritime training program that fills in that gap, with a 95% plus job placement rate.

The maritime industry is graying, as are most of the trades, so there is a long-term need for these jobs. One other thing to consider is that the US-flag maritime industry is one of the few industries left that is protected from offshoring. If there is a labor shortage, that will change.

In addition to the above, I would like to see NC (numerically controlled) manufacturing. These skills are needed if we want companies to invest in factories in the US.

(sent as I watch my parent company's tugs assist a cargo ship into the dock)

Anonymous said...

re: schoolstaffer's comment

I don't want an account--I'll be anonymous.

Anonymous said...

here is my comment:

The new Skills Center will be at several locations, not one like in other districts. Animation/Gaming will be at AIE at Seattle Center.
Digipen is a different (more expensive) school in Kirkland, formerly at the Nintendo Campus.
These classes will be free to SSD students and the State is paying for it.

Anonymous said...

Are these classes only open to students enrolled in Seattle Public Schools or are they open to all students?


Anonymous said...

Call their office (206)252-0730.

Career & Technical Education (CTE)
Skills Center brochure & app.


Anonymous said...

The Game Design Skills course is indeed located AIE, and taught by their teachers.

The funding for this particular course didn't come from the state, however, it was provided by a non-profit that supports the Interactive Media (game design) industry called Washington Interactive Network (WIN).

WIN also gives out 20k in scholarships every year, is building internships in the industry and has a start-up accelerator to support and grow game businesses in the Seattle area.

Interactive Media encompasses some of the job fields that are fastest growing and most available in the country and Seattle is seeing the largest growth in this area.

Good job Seattle Schools - way to break out of the box and start on a path to providing students with skills that make a difference.