Grand opening for CTEC course and other offices held last week

By Jim Carnal

Taft Union High School

The grand opening for the new Healthcare Careers class at Taft Union High School and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) office was held Thursday

Former long-term school board president Jan Ashley, a retired nurse practitioner, is teaching the Healthcare Careers class that began in January. The classroom is in the former construction classroom at the Career Technical Education Center (CTEC), which was formerly the West Side Regional Occupation Program. The WIOA office is also located on the CTEC campus.

Ashley teaches two classes, each with 17 students. Next school year, she plans to teach two introductory classes for juniors and an advanced class for seniors. “It will be a very exciting, dynamic classroom,” she said.

She said school trustees envisioned offering the healthcare class for many years and she is glad to finally be implementing that vision. The class is very hands-on. For example, students learn the fundamentals of sports medicine such as how to wrap and tape sports injuries and in dentistry, they make dental impressions.

The curriculum consists of 17 modules through the Paxton Patterson education company. Taft school officials visited the well-established program at Delano High School before purchasing the curriculum.

The class will help students “decide if they even like this field,” Ashley said. If students do enjoy the medical field, they will have some background to continue their education nearby at Taft College, Bakersfield College or California State University, Bakersfield.

Tina Urioste is the coordinator of the WIOA program designed to train at-risk students from low-income families. Students learn job skills and get paid work experience. The program works with 24 youth, age 16-24. Seven are Taft High students. The rest are graduates and some attend Taft College, she said.

Dozens of students and educators attended the open house prior to Ashley and Urioste cutting the ribbon to celebrate the grand opening.