Preparing the next generation of skilled workers - AZEdNews
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Preparing the next generation of skilled workers


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  • Kevin Imes/ Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma

The Southwest Technical Education District Of Yuma Boasts Ten Fields Of Study That Will Help Area High School Students Learn Skills And Earn Industry Certification, While Also Promoting Local Economic Development. Photo Courtesy Of STEDY

The Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma boasts ten fields of study that will help area high school students become the next generation of skilled workers and earn industry certification, while also promoting local economic development.

In Yuma County, the workforce shortage is getting worse as more people retire and leave their chosen profession. Whether farming, construction or health care, there are not enough skilled workers to fill available positions. As a result, businesses of all types are struggling.

To help fill that need, the Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma(STEDY) was created four years ago. It’s the newest of the 14 Career and Technical Education Districts (CTED) in Arizona.

Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma video: STEDY offers a wide variety of skilled and certification programs

Southwest Technical Education District of Yuma offers a wide variety of skilled and certification programs.

Some of the more popular programs include medical assisting, coding/software development and cyber criminology. But one of the more unique programs is STEDY’s animation certificate program, which can focus on anything from 3D modeling to multimedia artistry.

Animation is in increasing demand in the entertainment industry, but it’s also widely used in architecture and construction, weather planning and more. Since animation wasn’t offered in local high schools, STEDY identified a highly qualified local resident who could teach the course. The two-year program includes instruction on coding, storyboarding, 3D animation and simulations.

Having STEDY in the community is helping to fuel growth toward the Arizona Education Progress Meter goal to improve the high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2030. Overall, students who participate in career and technical education are far more likely to graduate in four years. STEDY participants are no exception.

The animation program is already proving its success – a junior in the program recently landed a part-time job with a popular YouTube channel. It was thanks to his own creativity and talent, along with the experience and animation samples from the program.

Overall, STEDY has graduated 70 students to date. In the most recent school year, an impressive 100 percent of software development students pass the Arizona Department of Education Technical Skills Assessment. And STEDY has as the highest class average in the state for that exam. Every student also earned their HTML Site Development certification.

The success comes in large part from partnerships that have been cultivated by STEDY leadership. Because students need to be work-ready upon graduation, businesses from Arizona, California and Mexico are lending a hand. Multiple animation studios help to provide teacher professional development, as well as visits to help guide students.

And for all programs of study, STEDY has enlisted support from local industry partners that can collaborate and help staff understand how to best prepare students for their lives after graduation. Given Yuma’s unique geography – sharing a border with both Mexico and California – this collaboration is invaluable.

The programs at STEDY are consistently graduating students ready to work in their chosen industry. Over the long term, this will drastically help to improve local economic indicators, as the pipeline of qualified workers grows.

For more success stories from across Arizona, visit the Expect More Excellence Tour.