Puyallup schools offer students career and technical skills training

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- Every high school student in Washington has to fulfill CTE -- career and technical -- requirements to graduate and while most districts send their students offsite to various skill centers, Puyallup Public School District sets itself apart by keeping in their own schools.

High school sure doesn’t look like it did 30, 20, even 10 years ago.

“CTE is a great example of one of the programs that is just changing with the times. It’s always evolving,” Brian Fox, Chief Communication Officer explained.

Career and technical programs combine academics and career-based training specific to the needs of the local workforce.

“We’ve worked really hard with the local employers in the area to see what is it that we have a need for in our area and how can we keep our students here in Puyallup with good living wage jobs and how do we help support that,” CTE Director Maija Thiel added.

And no field is off limits. From manufacturing to aerospace, culinary programs to automotive.

“Students get hired into the auto dealerships while they’re still in school. They go out, get jobs in that field. It’s just really amazing in the ways that they’re engaged in that work. You go in there and it looks like a true auto shop it’s amazing,” Theil explained.

The district also offers an apprenticeship program where students can make up to $28,000 in a school year through their employer.

Each school provides something unique, combining with dozens of business partnerships all right here in Puyallup.

“We didn’t ship them out to another entity or join other districts to provide the skill center. We own it because these are our students. We really own our students, so we want to make sure we are providing for them what they need and what our community needs,” Fox said proudly.

There are no barriers for kids to enter these programs. Any student can join until the programs reach capacity and students can even transfer to a school they’re not zoned in to take advantage of a special program of their interest.