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Career & Employment Opportunities

Inside Education S20 Ep06 | A Look Inside “American Graduate: Getting to Work”

On this edition
of Inside Education, getting our local
graduates to work.We dive into a national
initiative made possible
by the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting
to connect
16- to 26-year-olds
to in-demand jobs
like construction or IT.
First hear from part
of the team behind
the local American
Graduate initiative.
Then we talk to
two Clark County
School District teachers
on the front lines.
We hope you
stay with us for this important
discussion. This special edition
of Inside Education starts right now. ♪♪♪ Thanks for joining us
for this special edition of
Inside Education. I’m your host,
Mitch Truswell. Many of Nevada’s most
in-demand careers don’t require
a four-year degree, and many of those
careers have a critical shortage of
qualified workers. The Clark County
School District is working hard
to create pipelines where students can
graduate high school and earn
a good paycheck, sometimes while
learning on the job. Here at Vegas PBS,
a national initiative is also working
to expose young people to career possibilities.The initiative
is called
American Graduate:
Getting to Work,
and we have multiple
panels waiting
to tell us more
about what’s going on
here in
Southern Nevada.
But first a
quick explanation
on what American
Graduate is.
♪♪♪ (Kipp Ortenburger)
When you think
of Vegas PBS, you think of television,
you think of pledge and our membership drives
and things like that. But our television
is such a great way of connecting people
to resources, and that is exactly
what we’re trying to do with American Graduate. So Vegas PBS’ role is
to bring awareness and promote
middle-skills jobs for 16-
to 26-year-olds. Our unemployment rate
is continually decreasing, but when you look
at youth populations, that unemployment rate
is actually doubling. If you’re a grandparent,
a parent, teacher or counselor, you know
of that one youth that could be connected
to these resources. Visit our website at
American-Graduate. “It worked out so well,
and I’m so glad “that I had
this experience.”This message is part
of American Graduate:
Getting to Work,
a public media initiative
made possible
by the Corporation
for Public
Joining me now
to talk more about the American Graduate
initiative is Kipp Ortenburger,
host of Nevada Week here at Vegas PBS;
Craig Brockett, work-based learning
coordinator for the Clark County
School District; Dr. Niki Bates, director
of Educational Media Services for Vegas PBS,
and Cierra Wachtel, a youth who
participated in many of the American
Graduate videos. Thank you all
for being here today. Kipp, I want
to start with you. We just watched a PSA
in which you talked about the American
Graduate initiative Getting to Work,
and I think what will be surprising
to a lot of folks is the unemployment
rate for youth, and we’re talking about
that 16-to-26 segment. What is it? (Kipp Ortenburger)
Yes, it’s double what
our unemployment rate is here in
Southern Nevada, and these
are national trends so we’re not
any different than the national trend,
but we are about double. Now, there’s a lot
of reasons for that, but one of the reasons
we’re focusing on with American Graduate
is that we have a demand
for certain skills, and those jobs
aren’t being filled. So when we’re looking
at especially the entry-level jobs
which usually the 16- to 26-year-olds,
what we call middle-skills jobs
in this case, they’re not being filled
by our local companies, and so that’s why
we have the gap. -Help us understand
a little bit more about the
middle-skills jobs. Are there specific jobs
that you can give us an example
of what they are? -Yes, absolutely. Jobs like laboratory
technicians, heat and cooling
installers, IT and cybersecurity
specialists, these are the type of jobs
we’re talking about, and the difference between
a middle-skills job and say any other type
of job is that you need some form of
post-secondary education. You don’t need
a four-year degree, but you need some
form of credential that you get either
through an apprenticeship or through a short-term
training program, and those training
programs can last anywhere from six
months to two years so you do get some form
of formal education that puts you
in this type of job. -And with so many
jobs to fill, obviously
that’s the reason you’re focusing
on those. -It’s the reason
we’re focusing on it, and again, this
is a big demand. So we’re talking about
just Southern Nevada, we have about 42% of all
the in-demand jobs we have within
the state are these middle-skills jobs. Over half of the jobs
in the entire nation are middle-skills jobs, so this is a big part
of our workforce, a big part
of our labor market. So when we don’t
fill those jobs, of course economically,
it’s a big issue. It can restrict
our economy, and it can restrict our
businesses from growing. But I think the other
important thing to keep in mind is
if you’re a student and you’re looking for
a middle-skills job, these are jobs that
have upward mobility. These are jobs
that are lucrative. They can start at
$20 to $30 an hour, and after three
or four years, you can be at $50
an hour with the right credentials and
right experience. So these are
livable-wage jobs. These are very
lucrative jobs, and a lot of them
are in really, really cool
sectors as well. -All right. Craig,
we know the statistics show that most of
the CCSD graduates do not go on to
a four-year university, college or university. So in light of
all we hear about the “New Nevada,”
we’re trying to bring these diverse jobs,
technology-driven jobs to the state,
how do we make sure that we’re ready
as a state to fill these jobs
and these careers and place students
in these careers? (Craig Brockett)
It’s a good question,
and in following up with those comments,
I think there’s a big push for us
to be more collaborative obviously with
our industry partners, bringing them in
to understand what we’re teaching,
what programs of study we’re teaching. Traditionally we’ve had
more career vocational positions and jobs
in our schools, and now I think we’re
kind of moving into finding out what are
those middle-skills jobs to fill our workforce
and so working with governments both
local and at state, the Governor’s Office
of Workforce Innovation for example,
trying to get what were the
highest priorities is really important
for us and making sure that those get
into our schools. We’re really trying
to make sure there’s a curriculum
development aspect to what we’re doing
and changing our programs to
become more attuned with what’s
needed in our state. -Are you feeling like
you’re making progress in that direction?
-Absolutely. I think we’re
constantly evaluating what we’re doing,
and finding out what’s aligning
with industry standards and bringing in
folks from industry to help evaluate
through advisory committees and
other councils to make sure
that we’re on track is a real important
part of our work. -Dr. Niki Bates,
why is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
getting involved in an initiative
like this? We’re talking about
Getting to Work. Why is it particularly
important in our state? (Dr. Niki Bates)
It’s so important. Just as Craig said,
there has been a slight disconnect between what
our kids are learning in school and not
just getting them to graduate but
realizing what happens is very important
after graduation. So they have to be
able to go to work or go to college,
so it’s that whole college and
career readiness. But as Kipp said,
it’s about filling in that void of hey,
not just meeting the needs of kids
but meeting the needs of our workforce,
of those businesses that you’re working
with out there. They have a need to have
a pipeline of workers coming into
their businesses, and there is
a great need there. In the construction
industry especially, we have people retiring
from that industry and there’s no
pipeline coming in. So the School District,
working very closely in what Craig does with
businesses and bringing the School District and
the businesses together, where the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting comes in, since 2011
they have actually been providing grants around
the theme of graduation but luckily have also
realized as of 2018, that iteration of the grant
now added the tag line of Getting to Work
because they also believe how
important it is. Because local stations
with their fingers right there in the
community can also do what the School
District is doing and bring together
all of the partners to make everyone aware. As a media organization
it’s about awareness and making sure
our local youth ages 16 to 24,
ages 16 to 26, are aware of what Kipp
was talking about, are aware of what
you’re trying to do. So that’s our piece,
and education is part of the DNA
of public television, so it makes
complete sense that the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting would also be part
of that conversation. -I hear from all of you
talking about the need. Did we have too much
focus for too long on you must go to college,
it must be four years? Do you see that? -Yes, I do think
that was a message that I think from a
traditional standpoint we were all kind of
caught up in, and understanding
there’s other choices, I really think that
Superintendent Jara has done a really
good job of messaging that piece
with our trades. But yes, that’s
really been a focus out of our department is
to try to figure out ways that we can make sure
the students have all of the options
and understand all the pathways
and that there are very viable careers
for students who are not going
straight into college, and with endorsements
and credentials, they can come out
of high school or even a
two-year program very viable
for the workforce. -Cierra,
let’s talk to you. You had the opportunity
to experience a lot of careers as part of
the career pathway videos which were produced
by Vegas PBS. Tell us about some
of the careers that you experienced and what you
learned from it. (Cierra Wachtel)
One of the most fun
experiences that I had to dive right into
was getting to join in on the boot camp
that Helix Electric was providing to
all the apprentices. So me being a dancer,
I go to school for dancing and
creative writing, doing something
like electricity work was completely
different for me, but I actually
really enjoyed it. I was shown every
step of the way. I learned so many
different things, used power tools
I never thought I would have to use or
need to know how to use. But not only did it
open my eyes to this whole field
that I wasn’t aware of, I was made aware that
I could make that choice. Even though it was
something I didn’t think I would enjoy,
I was completely– my mind was
totally changed. If I hadn’t had
that opportunity, I wouldn’t have known
the choice was there and the choice could
possibly be for me. -Do you feel like those
that are near your age are aware of all
those possibilities? -I would definitely say
not as aware as they should be. If I hadn’t gotten
the opportunity to be working within the
American Graduate grant, I would not know
that there are so many other options out there. I agree with what
you were saying that universities
and four-year degrees are really pushed,
and while that’s an excellent choice,
there’s so many other things out
there that’s going to get you to where
you need to be. I don’t think that having
one distinct choice is, you know,
the way to be. You should have options. -Right. I guess probably
to your point, Craig, it’s really making sure
that students find out all that’s out there,
and I guess that’s probably
breaking through some of that college bias,
you gotta go to college, or just making sure
that counselors are aware and can communicate
that to students. -Yes, I agree. I think we really want
to offer students opportunities to get in
and explore not only what they’re
interested in but what they’re
skilled at, what their passion is,
to kind of set them in a mindset to
follow their passions and their skill sets. I know we try to put
students in work-based learning opportunities
like internships, job shadowing,
industry tours, and to your point,
hands-on activities, right, so you can
get in and understand what the scope of
some of these jobs are. Because really
the careers, there’s a lot more
careers out there that may lend
to their skill set they’re not aware of,
so the more we can expose students
to those opportunities, I think will lend to
a better future for them. -Niki, before we go,
how would you measure success with
this initiative? What would be
the signal for success
in your view? -Again, for us it’s
an awareness campaign, and it speaks to what
Cierra was talking about, and that’s choices. What kids need
to understand is they have choices,
and that particular career that they get
after high school– doesn’t mean college
is out of the picture– that career can be
their pathway to college. It was for me at 18. I went right into a job, that job helped me pay
for college, right? So the ultimate goal
of course is for youth to really understand
what their choices are and there isn’t
just one thing that they have to do
when they graduate. But of course measuring
success, we survey, we measure
our membership, we also of course
look at ratings, how many eyeballs
are on the TV watching the message
that we’re putting out there on broadcast,
but we also have all of the
content online. So measuring how many–
of course it’s about measuring awareness,
so measuring how many people are going
to the website and actually looking. We have resources
available, not just all
the video content that we’ve produced,
but there’s a list of resources
for our community to go to,
for our kids that age to look at and call
and pick up the phone and go to other websites and look at
other avenues. So we measure
all of that as part of the
awareness campaign. -Okay. Well,
I think we’ve learned in our short
discussion here, a lot of resources
out there. I want to thank you all
for doing your part to bring it
forward for us. At the end
of the program, we want to let folks know
we’ll be showing you where you can find
all the videos and resources compiled
as part of this initiative, but for now,
we want to go to an American Graduate
video that tags along with some female
CCSD students learning about careers
in construction. Construction is
an in-demand career here in Nevada,
and exposing students to career paths in
this field is critical.Reports from
the governor’s office
project 4,900
construction labor
openings alone over
the next five years.
My name
is Don Rodriguez. The name of our company
is Superior Builders. I’m a principal
commercial construction manager. Right now we’re feeling
a very tight pinch on labor,
construction people entering the job force. ♪♪♪ -My name
is Steven Haigh. I’ve been involved
in the construction industry since
I was 17 years old. Probably over
the last 10 or 12 years, we’ve seen a huge
decline in people coming into the industry,
especially youth. (Craig Brockett)
Part of my job is
to connect students with resources
for career exploration and expose students
to opportunities they could have based
on their skill sets in those sectors. With construction
in particular, we really want
to expose students to opportunities
like this, industry tours,
that allow them to explore
the different facets of those
industry sectors. -I’m an assistant
superintendent. I’m now running crews. We need to make sure
they’re all successful in order to make
the project move forward.McCarthy Builders
partnered with CCSD
bringing 30 female
high school students
to tour construction
of the Las Vegas Stadium,
the new home for
the Raiders NFL team.
“That’s going to get set
into place over here “and kind of create
this whole span.” McCarthy Builders
has been a partner with CCSD
for over 10 years. They’re a fantastic
partner in reaching out to us when these
opportunities arise. I really want
to use experiences like these industry
tours to allow them to understand
what is available for them when they
get out of school, what type of education
path they may need to take to get there,
and understand there’s a place
for them inside these
industry sectors. -There’s lots
of opportunities out there
in our industry, good-paying career
opportunities. There’s no height
to where you can go, it’s just limited
by yourselves.For more information,visit
This message is part
of American Graduate:
Getting to Work,
a public media
brought to you
by the Corporation
for Public Broadcasting.
We are back
at the roundtable this time with Ray Alvey,
who teaches construction technology
at Southeast Career and Technical Academy,
also known as SECTA, as well as
Anthony Chiodini, the emergency medical
services instructor at Veterans Tribute Career
and Technical Academy. Welcome to both of you. Ray, we just saw
the video talking about the need for
construction workers, and I know you’re
on the front lines. You not only worked
in the industry for years and years,
you crossed over and now you’re
teaching construction as well as many
other things involved in
building things. How do you correctly
educate students on all there is out
there in this world that we call
construction technology? (Ray Alvey)
I get the students
when they’re a freshman coming into school, and I have them
for four years. During that time
we show them all areas of the industry
from framing to operating heavy
equipment on up. But the most important
thing is we bring in the industry people
to come and speak to them. We bring in unions,
we bring in home builders, we bring in city officials
that work in the industry, and we give them
the options. We show them from
the way they can work as a carpenter, a laborer
or an operating engineer all the way up through
going to college where they can
get a degree in construction
management. They can go on
and become an engineer, they can work
as architects. There’s a lot of
avenues they can go to, and we show them these
so they can make a choice. Not all of them
will go into it. They choose which way
they want to go. Some of them
will never work in construction
and others, I have several girls
even right now that want to start their own
construction companies. So they can go
in a lot of ways, and they just love it. -And also those
skills they have, if they need to work part
time to pay for college, they also have
that ability as well. -A lot of them
will work full time, and then they’ll
go to school in the evening
like I did. That’s how I got
my degree, and they’ll progress in
not only their business but also their
college degree or maybe they’ll start
a construction company on their own
by doing this. -Right, and those
jobs are something that a lot of folks
don’t always have. It comes with
paid vacation time, medical insurance–
what else am I missing? -Well, if you start out
with a union, you will have your
benefits which include your vacation time,
your health and welfare which is your medical,
dental and optical. They will have full
benefits which include your retirement
and a lot of training, a tremendous
amount of training, and that’s immediate. As soon as they
get hired on with like a union,
that’s immediate. So they will start out
at like $28 an hour, $30 an hour depending on
where they start, and they can only
go up from there and they can make
a very good career out of doing this
and retire early. -Absolutely. Anthony,
we know the medical field is also one of those
in-demand careers because of the need. Our population
is growing, we’re getting older,
and that often kind of intersects with
medical services. In terms of EMS,
the EMS program at Veterans Tribute,
how do you communicate all that students
can I guess learn and where the program
can take them? (Anthony Chiodini)
In our program
they get to learn everywhere that the
program can take them, and the EMT
is the entry level into the healthcare
system where we have a nationwide crisis
of being short from doctors to nurses
to an ER technician. All these are
certifications that begin with having
the very basic EMT, emergency medical
technician, certification. With getting more
of that knowledge out, I’m very lucky other
agencies around here recognize they do
have a shortcoming, which is human power,
so they send in their recruiting
officers such as Community Ambulance,
Medic West, AMR– American Medical
Response– and the real good thing,
when AMR comes in, that is a nationwide
corporation so when they
get hired here, that’s not
their only limit. Their certification
is for the entire nation. They can take
this certification and go to any state
that they want. -And I just want
to make sure that people understand. These students that have
been in your program for the four years,
provided they pass the certification when
they graduate high school, they have the ability
to go to work immediately? -Yes, they do, and
currently right now as we speak, Medic West
Ambulance hired three of my former students
from last year. One of them is in the field
as we speak right now. -Wow. You know,
one of the things, you talk about all
the organizations and companies that
come to visit students, you also mentioned
that as well. That hands-on, really
allowing students to see while they’re in high
school where they can be after high school, kind
of makes a difference. -Oh, yes, it does. -Makes the connection
for the student. -Oh, yes, it does
because they get to see actually what the career
is going to entail. -What it looks like.
-Exactly. There can be happiness
and there can be sadness because of danger
that you’re in in the construction
industry, and sometimes
that scares them and the heights,
working in heights, that will
scare them a lot and it will scare them
away from the industry. But we tell them other
areas you can work like an
operating engineer, you don’t get off
the ground very high. -Right. -And they can operate
heavy equipment, and it works out
great for them too. -We know that Anthony
just had several students from last year
that were hired on. I know you also
at SECTA, that SECTA is undergoing
some construction of its own,
and you actually have some students there
working on that, former students.
-I do. They graduated
a few years ago, and they’re working as
carpenters on the school that they went to,
and they’re loving it. They come in and talk
to me all the time, and they make more
money than I make and they got a great
career ahead of them. They think it’s
exciting for them to work on a school
that they went to and help improve it,
and they really love that. -The panel that
we spoke to earlier in this program,
I asked them and I’d like to get
your opinion on this. Has there been too much
focus for too long among high school students,
grade school students, about you gotta
go to college, that’s the one way
to get through. Do you find that
students you come in contact with or
the parents really want to direct their students
to the college experience, or what do you see? -Well, I think it’s
a miscommunication or a misunderstanding
that yeah, a lot of parents,
including a lot of people that we work around,
do push that four-year. I think it’s mainly
because we don’t realize there are other
options out there that do not require
a four-year degree that end with
very good careers and high-paying jobs. -Our school was originally
developed in 1965 as an alternative
school to college. It was a vocational school
where the students could come without
going to college and learn a vocation
and have a career. Over the last I’d say
10 or 12 years, it’s kind of changed to
where they more demand– not demand, but they
more recommend that all students go
to college for something, and I believe it’s
in the wrong direction. A lot of teachers believe
it’s in the wrong direction because so
many students nowadays don’t have the money
to go to college and they don’t have the
desire to go to college, and this gives them
a vocation and a career that they can do without
having to go in debt to get a college degree
and sometimes make a lot more money than
they can out of college. -And they also gain
some great life skills as well from both
of your programs. Okay, so we only have
about 45 seconds left. If you could leave
viewers with one thought about this whole
issue that we’ve been discussing here,
what would it be? -College is not
for everybody. A vocation, you can make
a good living out of it. Try it.
If you don’t like it, you can still
go to college. -How about you, Anthony? -There’s options,
and that’s really ultimately what we’re
giving as instructors and teachers to
our kids is options, and that’s the big
thing is to realize that’s all we are
is just another option other than going
to a four-year program. -We appreciate
your time. Thank you.
-Thank you. -We want to thank
both of our panels. Now we want to let you
know where you can find all the information
we just spoke about. Learn about the Clark
County School District magnet schools and career
and technical academies at Applications for
magnet programs are being accepted now
until January 7 for the 2020-2021
school year. You can watch a host of
videos about in-demand careers like
automotive techs, MRI technicians and
electricians by heading to
American-Graduate. On that page there is
also a number of links to resources,
so we encourage you to check it out. A quick reminder
that you can watch this episode
and past episodes of Inside Education
on the Vegas PBS website or YouTube page. We want to thank you
for watching, and we’ll see you again
in two weeks. ♪♪♪

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