916 EMT class uses real medical equipment in everyday learning | News
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, which celebrates the value and achievement of CTE programs across the country.
For the northeast metro, the Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District serves 13 different school districts, allowing high school and transitional students to take a break from their regular school day and do some hands-on learning.
The tech program at 916 has over 800 students who attend 20 different programs that prepare students for post-secondary success. Students can try out a number of programs that range from cosmetology and aesthetics to welding and animal science that closely align with District 916’s partner, Century College.
District 916 follows a model where students are expected to have an idea of what they’d like to pursue post-high school, whether it’s a job in their field or a traditional college education.
“Our goal is that 100% of our students will be confident about their post-secondary plans when they approach graduation,” said Jill Stewart-Kellar, assistant director of career and technical education at District 916.
Ernad Ikanovic is a student in District 916’s EMT program. As a senior, he has a good grasp of what’s next in his career.
“I want to continue my career in emergency medicine and get my paramedic certification. After this program, I’ll be totally certified to be an EMT, and all the testing you have to take to be an EMT is free through the school, ”said Ikanovic.
Ikanovic began his program at the beginning of his senior year and has worked his way through the program. He’s been able to try hands-on learning with different medical equipment as part of his regular school day.
He said he chose the program to try something new other than sitting in a classroom and reading a textbook. He says that while he’s always been fascinated with first-responder jobs, as he’s gotten older he’s become more interested in learning the ins and outs of what it’s like to be a medical first responder.
Ikanovic’s classes are taught by folks who have worked in the field.
“We’ve got former police officers, EMTs and dental instructors. That’s the same for our cosmetology school: our instructors have been salon managers, all working in the fields our students are getting to try out, ”said Stewart-Kellar.
If a student tries out a program and decides it’s not for them, Stewart-Kellar says not to worry. Plenty of students switch their program. Part of technical education is trying out new skills to see what students enjoy doing, she noted.
“I would say it’s just as important for students to know what they do not want to do as much as it is important for them to do what they do want to do. We want to get students exposed in their hands-on careers so they can figure out what they want, and then potentially take that next step, ”she said.
Over the last couple of months, the labor shortage has become more evident. Stewart-Kellar hopes the technical college education model can help build a skilled workforce. Whether students are entertaining the idea of full-time work after high school or pursuing a bachelor’s degree, District 916 goes by the philosophy that finding the right career is more about the path instead of the destination.
When students are posed with the big “What do you want to be when you grow up?” query, their technical college background might just be the ticket to answering the question.