Highland Exceeds National Average of Low CTE Class Participation


Maggie Lea

Highland students in the welding workshop

Ethan Sutton, Staff Writer

America is experiencing a drought of skilled workers in jobs within the CTE field, but don’t blame highland for this problem.

Highland’s faculty is supplying a wide range of CTE classes available to every student who wants to take them. Although there are only a set few classes at Highland — foods, CNA/EMT, wood
shop, welding, child development, interior design, television and radio broadcasting, automotive, and photography — the Salt Lake City School District has created a system in which students can be transported to other classes at other schools. This includes the majority of schools within SLCSD along with a couple of surrounding districts.

“Students are particularly interested in computers, “CTE Secretary Maria Smuin said, “and we offer more classes that appeal to students as well.”

High schools have pushed students into bachelor programs. However, Highland is trying to push the idea that there is more than one path to a higher education and career. Students have used their CTE classes to get jobs to pay for college. Many believe that the bachelor programs and the attitude toward trade-based careers should be the same.

Students working on computers in video productions // Maggie Lea

“I think as teachers that we do a great job of promoting our classes,” woodshop teacher Craig Johnson said, “My Woodshop III class has almost tripled in size from the past four years I’ve been working here.”

The action of reaching out to kids has really helped out at Highland.  Lack of participation is not a major concern. The encouragement has kept Highland’s classes healthy and the faculty hope to keep it as strong as it is.

Over one million jobs are available within trade-based careers and the classes that teach those trades are only being filled around 30% of the way. Any sort of trade specialist is needed — technicians, plumbers, carpenters, etc. — and many employers are willing to pay on average over $50,000 a year to fill in these jobs. Making the trade classes more available could be a possible solution, which Highland has currently succeeded at.


In addition to the classes at Highland, The Salt Lake City School District has set up a system where students can take CTE and trade-based classes at different schools to fulfill their needs. For example, there is a Computer programming class at the CTE center where kids take the bus to attend to every day yet the class isn’t on Highland’s campus.

Trades can offer a well-paying salary year round. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, trade careers can make anywhere from $38,330 to $86,750 a year. They can prove useful to the students who want to go to college and also provide a decent career for those who do not want to attend college.