An over-enrolled technical high school opening for the first time this fall in north Idaho indicates an unmet hunger for practical job training. The mutli-district collaboration in Rathdrum doesn’t even have a roof yet, and enrollment already exceeds capacity. Now, the school is on the hunt for more instructors.
The Kootenai Technical Education Campus, or KTEC, is due to open this fall. Enrollment is offered to public school students from around the Coeur d’Alene area. Those lucky enough to be admitted will spend half-days learning in-demand skills like welding, computer repair or diesel mechanics. The school was originally designed to have 280 students, but 900 have signed up.
KTEC director Mark Cotner says when it comes to hiring instructors, these courses require a higher level of expertise than the shop class you might remember from school.
“These programs are really based on industry certifications," Cotner explains. "So that when a student comes out of say the welding program, they are already certified for the welding industry.”
The high school is partnering with the University of Idaho to help industry professionals get a teaching certification. Cotner says another hurdle may be the pay cut prospective instructors see between their jobs in private industry and teaching public school.
North Idaho voters approved a property tax levy in 2010 to build the Kootenai Technical Education Campus. It’s uses an Oklahoma model that bases technical curriculum on the needs of the regional economy. Another similar school was built in Wilder, Idaho, near the Oregon border.
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Kootenai Technical Education Campus
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