Wisconsin launches online CTE school

Online CTE model will provide hands on training and dual credit opportunities for middle and high school students

Online learning provider K12 Inc. announced the opening of Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin, an online career and technical education (CTE) high school in Wisconsin using the curriculum and academic programs by K12 Inc. It also offers a construction apprenticeship program in partnership with industry leaders.

“Studies have shown that by 2020 two out of three jobs will require some postsecondary education or training and that job-related skills can dramatically increase employment options for new graduates,” said Stuart J. Udell, CEO of K12. “We have a unique expertise in delivering online course content to young students and the addition of career and technical courses like the ones we are offering through our Destinations model will allow them to explore potential careers and get a jump on the certification process.”

K12’s career readiness offering uses an end-to-end approach, designed to prepare students to enter the workforce or pursue other post-secondary options. Students can access multiple versions of core online high school courses and opt to take CTE courses in one of four Career Clusters: Architecture and Construction; Business, Management, and Administration; Health Science; or Information Technology. These Clusters are designed to give students a head start on their career goals by earning technical and specialty trade credentials, college credits, and workplace experiences.

Obtaining industry certifications opens the door to increased job opportunities for students in high- demand and high-paying jobs. State licensed teachers provide students instruction and support and graduates receive a state-approved diploma. Students receive preparation for the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) exams as well as a membership in a SkillsUSA career and technical student organization (CTSO) chapter for networking purposes.

Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin is an online public charter school sponsored by McFarland School District that utilizes this online career readiness curriculum. The tuition-free online public charter school is open to students statewide in grades 9 – 12 and serves full-time students in addition to offering individual courses to students in schools that do not have access to CTE programs.

The Construction Pathway was developed in conjunction with the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139 (Operating Engineers) and Fox Valley Technical College. This unique “pre-apprenticeship” program directed by the Operating Engineers will give students hands-on experience and prepare them to enter apprenticeship training to become successful operating engineers – heavy equipment operators, mechanics, and surveyors – in the construction industry. Fox Valley Technical College, based in Appleton, will offer dual-credit, tech-prep opportunities for students and help facilitate blended learning opportunities – online learning and face-to-face instruction – for students from a variety of campus locations, regional centers, and training sites.

“There is no question that today’s labor market is desperate for workers with these types of skills,” says Tim Lawrence, the Executive Director of SkillsUSA, a K12 partner that will offer students additional skills development opportunities. “High school students who are involved in CTE programs feel more engaged in schoolwork, so there is a lower risk of drop out. Programs like these help mitigate youth underemployment and these online courses will help reach even more underserved youth.”

Online and blended learning models can help high schools enhance or expand their CTE programs quickly, affordably, and thoroughly. The Wisconsin school represents the first of several CTE offerings planned by K12.

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