Patterson High School’s Career Technical Education has been helping students succeed in acquiring working skills and opportunities for growth and development.

The program offers different career technical education courses in Agriculture, Logistics and Health Careers. Each program is designed in a way that allows students to gradually learn and gain experience through pathways.

“Career pathways are designed to help students gain skills through hands-on training,” said Director of Career Navigation and Workforce Preparation at PHS, Kym Brinkman.

The different pathways have no dearth of options, as the Agricultural Pathway alone currently offers: Agricultural Mechanics, Food Science, Animal Science and Ornamental Horticulture.

“The Ag Mechanics program teaches students all about engineering, welding and agricultural projects specifically designed towards the engineering side of agriculture,” said Brinkman. “Food Science teaches students about nutrition, cooking techniques and healthful living. We also have Animal Science for students who want to focus on animals and for students who participate in FFA. If a student wants to focus on plant science, then that’s where our Ornamental Horticulture pathway comes in. Each pathway is designed so that each student can take the classes that build upon each other in a sequence.”

Brinkman says that the pathways are designed for both students who are college bound and career bound. She says that many of the PHS graduates who enroll in the agricultural program go on to major in agricultural fields at institutions like: MJC, Stanislaus, Cal Poly and Chico State. In the future, the program plans to add a Veterinary Science component for students interested in the field.

Logistics and Transportation is a career pathways program that, according to Brinkman, is one of a kind.

“Our logistics program is unique. Not a lot of schools in the country have a logistics program like we do.”

The logistics pathways program at PHS offers courses in: Warehouse Management, Inventory Control, Forklift Operations and Class A Truck Driving.

“So students who want to become a commercial truck driver can take our ‘Introductory to Commercial Truck Driving,’ their senior year and work towards earning their learners permit as a class A truck driver,” said Brinkman. “Then, after they graduate they can enroll in Patterson Adult School and they can get their commercial truck driving license.”

The Introductory to Commercial Truck Driving course at PHS offers students a head start to receiving their truck driving license and the opportunity to avoid spending a lot of money. According to Brinkman, if students were to do these courses separately outside of PHS, it could cost them several thousands of dollars.

The forklift operations class currently offers PHS students the opportunity to get certified as a Forklift Operator, which includes training on a pallet jack, stand-up reach truck and a sit-down counterbalance propane truck in which students can receive an OSHA 10 Certification and Forklift order-picker certification.

The certifications allow students to be prioritized when interviewing for companies as Warehouse Associates, Forklift Operators, Dock Workers and Quality Control. The PHS logistics program currently partners with distribution centers like: Bronco Winery, E & J Gallo, G3, Northern Refrigerated and Amazon.

“Those employers participate in advisory committees and we get feedback based on industry trends so we can adjust our curriculum,” said Brinkman. “[By maintaining] industry standards, this allows our students to succeed and in return [those companies] tend to interview and hire our students.”

The department will host a job fair on June 11 at 8 am-1 pm at the PHS Warehouse. The job fair will be open to PHS Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates and will include employers like: Michaels, Grainger, CVS, Restoration Hardware, Kohls and Amazon.

“One particular student who graduated from our program was immediately hired [by one of these companies] and within a year she was promoted to Auditor and now within two years she has climbed the ranks and has had a very successful career,” said Brinkman.

The Medical pathway program at PHS is the newest of the bunch. It started in 2018 and focuses on careers in Healthcare by offering programs such as: Health, Human Biology, Medical Terminology, Sports Medicine, Anatomy & Physiology, Health Careers and Internships.

“Students who are interested in careers in healthcare can take these classes to better prepare them for college,” said Brinkman. “After their graduation they can go on to take the certified nursing assistant through Patterson Adult School and immediately start a career in healthcare, or they can go on to college. Many of them will major in Biology and become nurses, radiology techs and doctors.”

In fact, Brinkman said that of the students who completed the Health Career Pathways program and graduated in 2020, 64% of them went on to attend college and are currently pursuing degrees in healthcare.

In the future, the program plans to add certifications for CPR, AED and First Responder. Brinkman credits all of the success of the pathways programs to the teachers at PHS and says they have been influential in helping the students to succeed and expand upon their education.

“We are always looking to better our programs. We have dedicated and talented teachers that all have experience in the careers they teach and if it wasn’t for them, this program wouldn’t be successful.”

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