HISD Futures Academy gives students head start on college, high-demand career industry

Challenging program lets students work in the field, earn college credit

The Futures Academy of Petroleum Engineering Technology at Furr High School is preparing students to pursue college degrees in fields such as engineering and business administration at four-year universities.

The academy was designed to train students to work as engineering technicians in the downstream and midstream petroleum industry. Students complete coursework in areas such as hydrocarbon safety, oil exploration and drilling and receive career training as part of a partnership with the Houston Community College and companies in engineering.

“In speaking to Futures Academy students, one of the common themes is how taking classes in the Futures Academy has prepared the students for college-level coursework,” said Mike Ritch, the Futures Academy coordinator at Furr.

The program at Furr is one of eight Futures Academies in HISD that offer rigorous blended-learning environments, both face-to-face and online, tailored to meet the needs of Houston’s growth industries. The academy is offered as a college and career readiness magnet program option, and students may apply through the district’s magnet application up until Dec. 19.

There are also academies in additional career industries that include health, construction, and network and computer administration at Jones, Kashmere, Scarborough, Sterling, Washington, and Westside high schools and the Jane Long Academy. Students who complete the program will earn work certifications, college credits or an associate’s degree.

“The students that graduate our academy and attend college have been able to transfer 16 to 21 college credit hours toward a degree,” Ritch said. Students in the Futures Academy take core classes and engineering technology courses in addition to taking two or three Houston Community College dual-credit courses each semester of their junior and senior year.

“It also has given them the confidence and belief that they can achieve more than they thought possible before they were in the program.”

For more information on HISD Futures Academy schools, please visit the Futures Academy website.

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