Combs High School considers partnership with area businesses

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Local business owners and representatives met at the Combs High School library to discuss potential partnerships with the school’s Career and Technical Education Department. J.O. Combs Superintendent Dr. Gayle A. Blanchard, CTE Department Coordinator John Scrogham, and Community Education Coordinator Kelly Guerra hosted the meeting. The meeting began with a short video about Arizona high school graduation rates and how they affect the region’s economy, and was followed up by a presentation about the Combs CTE department.

“Most people don’t know what CTE is,” Mr. Scrogham said. “One of our first and foremost goals is to educate what CTE stands for, what it is, and the benefits of being a part of the program.”

After an explanation about the CTE department, the business owners and district personnel were taken on a tour to see several CTE courses in action, starting with “the Newsroom,” home to the journalism and broadcasting programs, where a student-produced commercial featuring the Stagecraft CTE course was shown to the group.

The tour continued into a beginning graphic design class, where they were able to witness students at work on design projects.

While students are able to work on projects in class, the long term goal is to give CTE students the opportunity to work in specific career fields while still in high school.

“It’s great that students are in the classroom and learning these technical skills and workplace and employability skills, but to actually be put in that environment and learn from somebody that owns a business just expands what students will learn,”  Mr. Scrogham said.

After seeing the capabilities of the graphic design students, the group moved on to the medical professions class, where they observed second-and third-year students practicing patient care and proper sanitary procedures.

“We learn the basics, but we also learn to go above and beyond,” said Jaycee Martin, CHS alumna and medical professions graduate. Even though the Medical Professions program at CHS is only a few years old, it has already begun producing young professionals.

“I went through the (medical professions) program and I passed my CNA test,” CHS alumna Frankie Dominguez said. “I just recently got a job at Banner Baywood Hospital.”

CTE courses are designed to help students succeed after high school and by adding exposure from businesses in the workforce it can only improve their learning.

Partnering with local businesses give CTE students the opportunity to extend their learning beyond the classroom through internships, mentorships, or job shadowing. The collaboration will benefit the store owners in addition to the student interns.

“They have all those skills that new employees don’t really have, and they (employers) save time and will be more productive,” Mr. Scrogham said. “When students leave Combs, we want them to have direction, and that may or may not be what they did in CTE, but if we can provide them with a starting point, then we’ve done our job.”

Editor’s note: CheyAnne Crosby is a student at Combs High School.

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