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Willis ISD Bringing Career & Technology Exploration Labs to Eighth Grade Students in 2021

Three years ago, the Willis High School Career & Technology Education Center (CTE) opened its doors and revolutionized career/technical education in Montgomery County. Now, Willis ISD is continuing its commitment to develop well-rounded students who are ready for college OR the workforce by bringing CTE course labs to all 8th grade students. This summer, classrooms at both Brabham and Lucas Middle School will be renovated into college and career Ready STEM labs for a new elective course being offered to all eighth grade students beginning August 2021. The labs are complete learning systems developed and managed by Paxton/Patterson, a leading provider of classroom technology learning systems.

These labs will provide students with hands-on learning in over 100 unique careers in STEM areas alongside extensive college and career research in each area. Students spend ten days exploring the curriculum for each unit, before rotating to the next unit. In all, there will be 16 units the students rotate through. Students will also analyze job growth, regional and national employment trends, salary expectations, required levels of study and/or training, and local and regional options for training/education for the specific careers they are researching. 

“I am so excited for this new learning opportunity being brought to the students of Willis ISD,” said Travis Utecht, Director of Career & Technology Education. “These work-based and problem-solving units will give students an opportunity to hone in on their interests and skills prior to entering high school so that they know which CTE Courses and careers they are most interested in while also preparing them for the high school CTE curriculum. Our students will be highly employable after going through the CTE track in our secondary schools.” 

Students and parents will be able to select electives including this course (titled General Employability Skills) during course selection in the next few weeks. Campuses will send out specific information for course selection. 

Units of study include: 

  • Computer Aided Drafting & Design
  • Digital Manufacturing
  • Digital Audio Production
  • Video Production 
  • Energy & Power
  • Flight & Drone Technology
  • Forensic Science
  • Home Maintenance Fundamentals
  • Home Maintenance Systems
  • Intro to Computer Science
  • Intro to Health Science Careers
  • Intro to Culinary Arts
  • Pneumatics