By Frédéric M. Martin, Editor-in-Chief
It took about 9 months from the application date for a construction grant to the day MUSD received the State of California $2.2M grant. The funds will be used for the major retrofit of the Madera High School CTE (Career Technical Education) buildings that will be gutted down to the studs, as mentioned in the launch issue of this newspaper. The first space to retrofit to is the residential and commercial construction pathway, currently operating at Madera High School, that will allow for better, deeper learning through building sheds and tiny homes. A new pathway will be created through the second retrofit which will offer instruction in automotive repair as well as traditional car repair, making an ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) certification a likely outcome for CTE students, and is invaluable when they enter the workforce in the automotive industry. The next new pathway to be created through the third retrofit, will be the Medium / Heavy Truck Service and Repair program. Madera will be one of only three programs with an ASE accredited semi-truck repair program west of the Mississippi. The students from this heavy medium truck program will also exit high school with an ASE certification to help them kick-start their career. The robotics and engineering pathways, currently available at Madera High, will move to Matilda Torres High School, which will feature a state of the art facility slated to be completed by 2020, at the same time the retrofits are expected to be completed.
Our industry partners have been deeply involved in the design process and setting program goals; key partners include Cencal Trucking, Talley Transportation, Advanced Automotive, Les Schwab, Betts Trucking, Reedley College, and key individuals at the National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence’s “ASE Industry Education Alliance”. Many of these partners provided invaluable real-world industry insights and job shadowing opportunities for our students. The teachers involved in the program are required to spend 20 hours of externship per year, in the industry, to keep up with all industry innovations and evolution of standards. Our teachers will probably be able to bring in more industry partners, which will both enable us to rotate their participations in our panels as well as expand our industry resources and our programs’ exposure to their respective industries. The curriculum follows both the local aspects and the national requirements of the industries we serve: each CTE track advisory panel has three to five industry partners, who meet twice a year, to evaluate our programs performance, review student projects, etc. to ensure we keep up with the industries we serve and prepare our students to be able to hit the road running when they enter the workforce. Our classroom community agreements enable MUSD CTE students to shadow their potential employers and are all covered with workers compensation insurance while on location with our industry partners.