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New career center teaches students real-world skills
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Students at the newly opened Career Inspiration Center examine animal care through 3D technology (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Denair students will have the opportunity to gain real-world experience through the newly opened Career Inspiration Center at the Stanislaus Military Academy in Empire. The Stanislaus County Office of Education received $400,000 to open the program and have professionals teach students about multiple workforce sectors.

Denair Unified joins the Ceres, Hughson and Patterson school districts as the inaugural cohort of the program. All districts have signed up for next year and more are going to be participating for the first time, for a total of 10 districts.

“We really try to give the students as much hands-on, real-world experience as possible,” said SCOE CTE Director Dallas Plao.

The Career Inspiration Center focuses on four career pathways: Technology, Health, Agriculture and Manufacturing industry sectors. Students from the partnering school districts will be bussed to the Career Inspiration Center, and participate in activities throughout the course of the year. 

Modesto Junior College will be providing after school seminars in the career pathways, and also offer college credit career guidance opportunities for students. Stanislaus State will be supporting the program with student facilitators and additional college awareness and access opportunities for students.

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Students practice welding using virtual reality headsets (PAWAN NAIDU/The Journal).

Students who participate in the program will also have access to additional resources and program offerings which may include summer workshops, after-school training opportunities, field trips to businesses, educational programs, internships, industry recognized certifications and an end of year culminating activity.

CIC welcomed students from Ceres Unified Tuesday morning to learn lessons through the agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Students were able to design items to be 3D printed, learn about caring for animals through veterinary care and practice welding through a virtual reality device.

“It’s great that we have this opportunity,” said Ceres High student Luke Ivy. “We’re able to understand what we’re going to have to go through in these specific fields, which is great.”

These lessons come with technology that typically isn’t available to students in traditional classes. Students work with virtual reality machines, a projector that lets them examine multiple animals and 3D printers.

“I’ve never seen technology like this,” said Ceres High student Adrian Enriquez. “It’s great to have the opportunity to work with things like these that will help you get an understanding about what you’ll be doing.”

Some businesses that will be offering program support and guidance include: Gallo, VOLT Institute, Bay Valley Tech, Medical Society, National Ag Science Center, Ag Safe, and First Lady Permanente.