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Idaho Falls School District 91 Superintendent Jim Shank is shown in this Post Register file photo.

A new Center for Career and Technical Education is coming to Idaho Falls School District 91, which will give students more opportunities to learn industry skills.

The Idaho Falls school board voted to approve the creation of the center during its Wednesday board meeting.

“With the new Center for Career and Technical Education, we will be able to increase professional learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom,” Superintendent Jim Shank said in a Thursday news release. “Students will be able to engage in skills-based education through patronships with local industry, be encouraged to pursue professional certifications, and engage in authentic learning experiences.”

The center will expand the CTE programming the district currently offers, Shank said in a Facebook Live video Friday. Students enrolled in the district can take CTE courses in nursing assistant, auto, culinary arts and computer science fields, but those classes are held in buildings scattered around the district, he said.

The stand-alone center will centralize all the CTE courses to make it easier for students to access them and it also will include new courses including construction and trades, agriculture and horticulture, the release said.

Margaret Wimborne, the district’s director of Communications and Community Engagement, said in the Facebook Live video that the center will help students find school to be relevant to their interests and plans after they have graduated. Additionally, this will help the district’s mission of engaging with all types of learners and increasing student graduation rates, she said.

“With these kinds of programs, we should be able to engage with those kids, keep them in school, make sure they’re successful and give them a path forward,” Wimborne said in the video.

The district is planning to lease a facility that would house all of the CTE programs except for the auto program, which will remain at Idaho Falls High School, the release said. While the board has given its initial approval, final approval will come after the project is put out to bid. Shank said the district is hoping to open the center in Fall 2022.

“Our vision as we build this center is to forge strong partnerships with local industry,” Shank said in the release. “Our industry partners could co-sponsor programs, engage in the design layout, development and growth of these programs and inspire students to pursue industry certifications, job-site experience and dual credits so they can take full advantage of all that these career and technical education programs have to offer.”

The school board also voted to approve other projects during its meeting including an electrical upgrade to Idaho Falls High School, new artificial turf for Ravsten Stadium and renovations in the district office basement.

Shank said in the video the new center and electrical upgrades will be funded by federal COVID-19 funding. The new turf and basement renovations will be funded by the supplemental plant facility levy, he said.

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