SVCTE: teaching technical skills

As a student with a strong interest in video production, Senior Aidan Bates struggled to find in-depth film courses at school that would prepare him to pursue his career. He turned to Silicon Valley Career Technical Education’s (SVCTE) Film and Video Production course to take advantage of the facilities’ equipment and teachers with video industry experience.

“We have a Multimedia course, but the curriculum is not as [in depth] SVCTE, which teaches things like writing scripts in the professional environment. It is geared towards the industry I want to enter,” Bates said.

Taught by industry professionals, SVCTE aims to provide hands-on op-portunities and technical skills to pre-pare students for higher education or the workplace while also allowing students to explore their interests.

Career technical education is designed to engage students with real-world academics, providing training to succeed in future occupations. SVCTE, a free science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) high school program, offers 28 courses for qualified juniors and seniors from a total of 32 Bay Area high schools.

SVCTE provides a morning and afternoon session; students usually take three to four courses at school and one session at the program center working on a technical education course. 21 of the classes are University of California “a-g” approved; the expectations and workloads are similar to that of a regular school classroom environment.

“The course affects your schedule, but there are upsides. At the end of the year, I get a certificate confirming that I am competent in performing the tasks in my film production class; students show this certificate to future employers or colleges to give them an edge,” Bates said.

The majority of the program’s courses are not offered at the school. Classes like Electrical Maintenance provide participants with the dexterity to perform hands-on activities necessary for some work. After one year of a course, many students can even be hired for a job that pays $17 to $18 an hour, considerably more than California’s minimum wage. Experience gained from other classes like Culinary Arts or Forensic Science can also benefit students in higher education.

“Career technical education supplies students with unique skill sets and opportunities that you would not find in a traditional high school. We even found that students may start performing better in other classes because they are working with their hands for several hours a day and loving it,” Joan Albers, Career Center Counselor, said.

Applications and acceptances for SVCTE are organized by priority registration. Courses are free, and can are one semester or a complete school year.