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CTE classes offer certification to gives students a leg up on jobs


This year, Merrillville High students have walked past the new CTE building currently being built behind the school, conjoined into D hallway. CTE classes are Career-Technical Education, meaning that classes you take are focused on the career you hope to have after graduation and help you jumpstart your career. 

MHS offers a large variety of CTE classes, including but not limited to  the CNA pathway, Auto Shop, Culinary Arts/Hospitality, and Construction. Many of these classes offer certifications that can help students advance their intended careers. 

When asked about the requirements and benefits of these classes, CNA teacher Mrs. Knocke spoke very highly of the real-world experience and guidance she provides to her students. 

“We would absolutely consider this class a way to jump start your college career in high school. Our class is not only a dual credit class but we also teach our students how to be responsible and also accountable for their actions,” Mrs. Knocke said. 

The CNA pathway is a four-year, intense program that closely mimics nursing school based on real world experiences.

CNA students work towards both their CPR and CNA certifications by their sophomore year. 

“The class is useful and gave me a stepping stone into the medical field,” Junior Yaretzi Carrillo said. “Especially because I don’t know what I want to do yet inside that field it’s given me a good view into the medical world. If you just want to be a CNA, I would definitely say take it now at the high school while you can, it’s free and very accessible.”

Construction students are able to receive both their OSHA 10 and 30 cards. All of these certifications can secure students entry level positions in close to any job pertaining to their pathway of choice. 

Senior Rolando Alonso has completed both Construction and Automotive pathways during his time here at MHS.

“I have my OSHA 10, and I’m working to get my OSHA 30 (construction safety) card by the end of this trimester. When unions look at these certifications, it automatically puts me higher on the hiring ladder instead of people who still don’t have it,” Alonso said. 

In terms of career choices, the construction pathway offers a large pool of career opportunities. Teacher Terrell Taylor connects students with union representatives and trade school scholarships. 

“There’s a huge spectrum of careers that can stem from building construction trades. Whether or not they go into plumbing, mechanical, electrical, HVAC (which is Heat Ventilation Air Conditioning) ,pipe fitters, welding, construction management and of course carpentry. There’s such a wide spectrum of careers that you can build just from being here even without physically going to be a carpenter,” Mr. Taylor said. 

Senior Roshaun McGee speaks very highly of his time in the automotive pathway and how it will continue to help him in the future.

“I’ve always wanted to work with mechanical components. I would 100% recommend this class to incoming students who not just enjoy working on cars but the mechanical aspect and the things that we do daily. We have a great teacher [Mr. Jim Johnston]. He’s definitely played a pivotal role and for somebody who hasn’t had someone in their life to educate them, this class could be life-changing,”  McGee said.

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