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Future Funding: Warren Tech South

Future Funding: Warren Tech South
Posted on 10/24/2018
A student does some welding as part of his instruction at Warren Tech Central’s Auto Collision and Custom Repair Program.Levi Piper was hard at work creating a custom part for a 1971 Buick Skylark. This was not your typical Jeffco high school classroom. Levi is a student enrolled in Warren Tech’s Auto Collision and Custom Repair Program.

“What I like about here is being able to get away from normal school and normal traditional classrooms,” explained Piper. “I like being able to work on stuff that I want to work on and being able to do what I want to do and learn at the same time.”

It’s a good description of the Career Technical Education, or CTE, a philosophy that’s guided Warren Tech since its founding.

“We’re getting them college and career ready,” said Warren Tech Principal Heather Keeton. “We provide various pathways where we offer CTE coursework. They also get college credit.”

“Warren Tech is essential,” added Jeffco Public Schools Director of Choice Programming Marna Messer. We have lots of great programs that are happening in our schools, but getting to that point where we can extend that learning and have that opportunity with the right equipment and facilities is critical.”

The auto collision program is one of 28 offered between the school’s central campus in Lakewood, and its north campus in Arvada. Warren Tech students are learning everything from fire science, to game development to cosmetology. Many Warren Tech students who don’t go on to college, come out with jobs right away. Levi is lucky. He got one of the last available slots for his class, which is always in high demand. It’s a familiar story for the other Warren Tech opportunities too.

“We’ve got huge waiting lists for nurse aide, medical assisting, sports medicine. A lot of our programs are definitely at capacity, and we have waiting lists for almost all of them,” said Keeton.

Because of the demand, Jeffco is asking voters to approve future funding for a third Warren Tech campus.

“We really believe our district needs to be served with a Warren Tech South,” said Jeffco Public Schools Chief Operating Officer Steve Bell. “We do have property in the south that we can use to house that. We think a Warren Tech South is well warranted in our district and would serve a good number of our students.”

“We’re actually negotiating a couple of locations,” added Jeffco Public Schools Executive Director of Facilities & Construction Management Tim Reed. “One is in Rooney Valley with developers could be a location for Warren Tech South. The other would be to look at two of our high schools, Dakota Ridge and Chatfield, which have a significant amount of ground.”

If the project gets the green light, the programming at Warren Tech South would include some new offerings in response to worker shortages in select professions.

“We really are big on aviation. That’s a huge industry right now that we need to tap into,” said Keeton. “We’re hearing from them that they’re going to need a lot of people in that workforce.

“We’ve been approached by multiple aviation companies and folks that would really like us to start something like that so that’s a great connection,” added Messner.

Specialized audio work for live and event production would be another, as well as an additive manufacturing based on 3D printing program, and, just like the current two campuses, there would be industry partnerships and college credit as part of the Warren Tech South experience.

“The more we can provide that opportunity for our kids, and we have some great kids that are already doing that. We think we can expand that opportunity,” said Keeton. This just provides the gold standard of that next level.”

See the JPS-TV version of this story here or below.

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