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News and Information for Technical Educators

Berkeley High School Set to Expand Career Technical Education Program Offerings, Facilities


Photo by: Chen Gong

Berkeley High School, or BHS, is expanding the scope of its Career Technical Education, or CTE, program course offerings and developing new facilities for its students.

The CTE program at BHS offers categorized pathways in which students gain specialized skills required for future careers. The different industry sectors are categorized as health science and medical technology; public service; arts, media and entertainment; information technology; engineering and design; and building trades and construction.

A report on BHS’ CTE program presented at the June 27 Berkeley Unified School District board meeting said new CTE facilities are currently under construction and are set to open in August. These facilities include a fabrication laboratory, commonly known as a “maker space,” and carpentry, stagecraft and electronic technology classrooms.

In addition, the CTE program recommended offering the following classes at the May 30 and June 13 BUSD meetings: Entertainment Technician 1: “Stagehand” and “Fundamentals of Carpentry: Design/Build Studio.” As of press time, The Daily Californian could not confirm whether the classes were approved.

The objective of CTE is to provide students with routes to “intellectually rewarding and financially secure jobs,” according to a Nov. 1 BUSD board meeting.

According to CTE program supervisor Wyn Skeels, about one-third of BHS’ 3,100 students were enrolled in CTE classes last year.

The categorizations, named industry sectors, are subdivided further into specific pathways, such as the biotechnology, law and social justice, digital media, and communications arts and sciences, among others.

CTE in BUSD is structured to provide students access to high wage growth regional employment opportunities,” Skeels said in an email. “Students’ learning is highly contextualized and experiential with an emphasis on transferable skills.”

Students on the Berkeley Safety Technical Emergency Program pathway have the opportunity to complete mentor and ride-along hours with the Berkeley Fire Department. Last year, students on this pathway completed approximately 1,500 mentor and ride-along hours.

BHS’ CTE curriculum provides opportunities for students to earn college credit, as well as take up internships, apprenticeships and mentorships. BHS is also working with Berkeley Technology Academy and local middle schools to develop similar career technical pathways, according to Skeels.

In addition, a report on BHS’ CTE program presented at the BUSD school board’s Nov. 1 meeting stated that Longfellow and Martin Luther King Jr. middle schools will soon have CTE-credentialed teachers, which qualify BUSD for increased federal and state funding.

In the 2017–2018 academic year, the CTE program received funding from the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant, Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education grant, California Career Pathways Trust, Career Pathways Trust2, regional occupation programs and money for CTE facilities modification and equipment from Measure I — funds amounting to more than $6 million. The California Career Pathways Trust grant, however, ended June 2018, and the Career Pathways Trust2 is set to end June 2019.

The BHS CTE program also provides students the opportunity to continue their career-oriented education and experiences over the summer — one example, through the Biotech Partners program, will have the work they’ve produced during their summer internships showcased on at the Biotech Partners 2018 BRAVO! Celebration on Aug. 11.

Cade Johnson covers schools and communities. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter at @cadejohnson98.

Tom Shaw

Technical Education Post, Online Publisher

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