Workforce development opportunities are expanding at Hughes Career Academy

Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 5:07 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It can be hard for high school students to know what path they want to take after they graduate. Bismarck Public Schools wants to make sure students know what kinds of careers are available to them.

Teenagers from all over Bismarck fill the chairs at Hughes Career Academy to see if future careers in health sciences are right for them.

“They teach you the hands-on skills that you need to be successful in health careers, but classes like our advancement med class teach more about the logistics side of it. You learn about the money, the different options and then the different career pathways you can take,” said Aspen Schroeder, Legacy High School senior.

Students take foundation classes before they start the hands-on learning.

Teenagers mimic what their job fields could be. For example, in the advanced medical class, they’re doing a simulation on how to respond to an allergic reaction.

“So it goes away from exploratory to, ‘Well, I think I’d like to be a CNA. Well, what’s that, like?’ When they come out they’re going to know they want to be a CNA or they’re going to say, ‘I don’t want to be a CNA,’ which is, quite frankly, just as important,” said Dale Hoerauf, director of the career academy at Bismarck Public Schools

Three classes are held in health sciences.

This is the first year Hughes Career Academy is open to high school students. BPS ran out of space at the career academy at the BSC campus, so they expanded to Hughes.

The Hughes building also has enhancements like collaborative spaces for students and more room for future expansion.

“In the state of North Dakota, everybody wants to build career academies like we’ve got. We want to go to Career Academy 2.0, and that’s including middle schools and other programs,” said Hoerauf.

BPS career academy directors are working to get middle school students started at Hughes Career Academy in order to jump-start their education journey.

“Career exploration, so they know what classes to take when they get into high school and they can get dual credits and graduate with stackable current credentials that will help them in post-secondary,” said Dr. Tabby Rabenber, principal at Prairie Rose Elementary.

Rabenber says the middle school students will have access to drone labs, horticulture labs, exploratory experiences, agriculture, arts and communication, as well as other immersive learning simulations when construction and grant funding are complete.

The project costs $18 million, and they still need to raise $9.5 million.

Bismarck School District administration says they want to get middle school students into Hughes Career Academy next fall.