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Students prepare to enter the workforce through Bryan ISD's Career, Technical Education program

Posted at 9:24 AM, Mar 04, 2024

BRYAN, Texas — Bryan ISD is preparing the next generation of students who want to pursue a career technical education through its CTE program.

Students are hard at work, building up their futures at the Bryan Career and Technical Education Complex (CTEC).

Maxine Kalil is a sophomore in the Bryan CTE program.

“How to use these machines like manually, the lathe and the mills,” Kalil said. “Recently, we learned how to how to do the CNC application of that, which is the computer numerical control.”

Kalil is part of teacher John Gerzik’s practicum STEM and manufacturing class.

“Students get to work on taking an idea and making it a reality,” Gerzik said. “They have to tell the machine what tools to use and then put all the tools in the machine.”

According to Bryan ISD, 78% of all high school students are taking CTE courses, with over 90 offered in the district.

About 3,400 students are enrolled in the program. This is the largest program enrollment in Bryan ISD.

“Being able to use those machines is super instrumental and being able to know how to use the machines is huge,” Kalil said.

Smaller classroom settings within the CTE classes allows students to truly work together and learn.

“They’re learning valuable skills in how to manually produce items and they can also automatically produce them with the CNC machine,” Gerzik said.

Bryan Ybarra is a senior who loves robotics.

He is helping his classmates prepare for an upcoming competition.

“Right now, they’re setting up different variables and making the robot do different things like picking up a block and moving it or making it way at you,” Ybarra said.

For Kalil, she’s one of only four girls in the program.

“I try to represent, be here,” Kalil said. “More girls would be awesome.”

Kalil and Ybarra both enjoy the not-so-typical classroom setting. They said it has its advantages.

“It’s different, like it’s not the normal academic process that you’re used to but it’s super interesting and a different way to learn, in a much more hands on way, which is awesome,” Kalil said.

“I get to work with a lot of the industrial machines here that I wouldn’t have a chance at in early stages of college,” Ybarra said. “I mean the next time I might work with these machines is junior or senior year of college.”

Once students finish their coursework through the CTE program, they can continue to further their education or head straight into the workforce with their advanced skills.