District’s new career and technical education center at Jordan HS accepting applications

Rising juniors at nine HISD high schools have the opportunity to explore different careers without changing schools, thanks to the district’s first regional career and technical education center at Barbara Jordan.

The Barbara Jordan Career Hub is now taking applications from 10th-grade students zoned to Davis, Furr, Kashmere, North Forest, Reagan, Sam Houston, Washington, Wheatley, and Yates high schools to participate in the specialized program at Jordan, where they will get specialized education and training in high-demand fields.

“We’re looking for students who want the chance for hands-on experiences to prepare them for careers in auto technology, construction, marketing, welding, culinary arts, cosmetology and so much more,” said Principal Ross McAlpine. “Our students don’t sit behind desks. They are practicing the skills we’re teaching in specialized labs with the latest equipment.”

Take welding, for example, taught by Shain West, who is preparing his students for industry certifications that can help them land high-paying jobs.  “We have a growing field that is very high in demand, especially in the Houston area,” he said.

The school is making the transition into a career hub as it rebuilds its facility under the 2012 bond program. Jordan is receiving $36.6 million for a new school that will feature the latest labs to support the career training programs. Students accepted into the program will spend part of the day at their home school and the other part at Jordan.

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In addition to lab space, the school will feature a learning commons with a monumental staircase that could be used for everything from studying to lectures. Because students will be traveling to Barbara Jordan from their home campuses, the building will offer the convenience of grab-and-go lunch options.

McAlpine said one goal is to create an atmosphere of school pride, even with students who will only be on campus part of the day. By enrolling students from nearby high schools, he said the new facility will make a difference across a wide area by engaging students on relevant career paths.

McAlpine and his team are currently spreading the word about the programs at Jordan and encouraging students entering the 11th-grade next year to consider the benefits of a school that can provide industry certifications and dual credit programs.

Construction on the new high school is expected to start later this year, and a community meeting to discuss the designs and project schedule will be held on May 10 at 6:30 p.m. Once the new facility is built, the goal is to add additional programs in education and health sciences.

While McAlpine hopes many current and prospective students and their families will turn out to the May 10 community meeting to learn more about the future of the Barbara Jordan Career Hub, he said there is no reason to wait to apply.

More information is available from the school’s website or at 713-636-6900.

“We’ll make you career-ready, college-ready, and life-ready,” McAlpine said.