As Lewisville ISD prepares to construct a career center on the west side of the district, officials are deciding what programs it should offer.
District leaders visited other centers in the area and conducted a survey with parents of LISD middle school students to see what they would like to see in a career center. Some of the most requested courses were veterinary assistant and cybersecurity.
Last week, Adrian Moreno director of career and technology, provided an update to the LISD Board of Trustees on what programs are being considered for the new center.
Several programs at the existing center are expected to carry over, Moreno said, including computer maintenance, cosmetology and health science.
He also provided a list of possible new programs, including a district-wide agricultural science. Within that, he said there could be three types of courses – animal science, horticulture and agriculture mechanics. He said all three would have standard offerings. He said a veterinarian assistant program could be part of animal services. He said an expanded floral design program could be linked with horticulture.
Moreno said the program would be for both traditional agriculture students, as well as those seeking to become a veterinarian assistant.
LISD is looking into a culinary arts program that could include a full service restaurant with a coffee bar. A hospitality program could be incorporated, and there may be a connection to the floral design program.
Moreno said building trades could be another new program, with certifications available, with a specific focus on two trades, such as plumbing or electrical. He said determining those trades will come down to partnerships with the local businesses, and he said LISD is already working with one on the electrical side.
“They want to help us get our program up and running so we can be a pipeline to feed our students into their workforce,” Moreno said.
He said besides certification there could also be inspector opportunities.
Moreno said LISD’s computer maintenance and networking classes could be tied into a cybersecurity program. He said the program could become part of a Texas Education Agency-recognized innovative online course, adding that more are likely in the future.
“There is a shortage of cybersecurity right now,” Moreno said. “About 40 percent of them are coming out of the military and about 60 percent coming out of the private sector. There’s not enough to meet the needs of our state, much less our nation.”
Moreno said the district continues to explore the option of an aviation mechanics program.
Firefighting ranked high on the parent survey, but Moreno said that program is expected to become available next year at Lewisville High School and will be for all students.
Officials touted the benefits of the new center, including an expanded course list.
“When we build Career Center West, they’re not totally duplicates,” Superintendent Kevin Rogers said. “There will be programs that will only be at Career Center East that all students will be able to attend, and vice versa from all parts of our district.”
Moreno said the new career center would provide more space for the auto collision program. He said some students at Career Center East have been added to a waiting list.
Moreno said the district is looking at all types of partnerships, including internships and college reimbursement opportunities.
Board Member Tracy Scott Miller cautioned the board to be cautious when funding the programs, saying it’s important the students know what they can and can’t do after completing the class.
“Cybersecurity, of course it sounds cool, but statistically most companies don’t hire a person for a job in cybersecurity unless they have a master’s (degree),” Miller said.
Moreno said LISD can provide an entry-level certification in that field, and he said that would help students get into the competitive college courses since they already showed the commitment.