This year, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education welcomed increases in enrollment in both satellite and central campus programs. Now, after a lengthy renova- tion process — undertaken by VACTE construction program teacher, Travis Black, and his eight inaugural high school mentees — the district has successfully made the move to its new campus.
Once an open-air facility that housed Flip City Gym, the 7,700-square- foot suite at 3405 State Route 89A has been altered into a series of classrooms, workrooms, storage spaces and offices. The building use permits are pending the last and final city of Cottonwood inspections.
New technology, including a hydraulically lifted interactive touch screen television CPU, is being unpacked and will soon be ready for students to use. During a tour of the facility, VACTE Superintendent Bob Weir pointed out the ways construction students contributed to the new digs.
From construction of an entire wall, to cleat-system tool racks in the main storage room, the program’s first year of students have left a permanent mark on the facility. Along the way, Black has been instilling in the high schoolers not only the hard skills of construction, but work ethic and an attitude to match.
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“That’s what [Black] has them working on,” Weir said, dodging Black’s son as he goes about another task. The boy stops to introduce himself, shaking everyone’s hand and maintaining eye contact. “That kind of soft skill is so important. It gives them a leg up in the workforce.”
According to Weir, the construction program’s second year should be even more of a success. Interest is high, perhaps as high as regional demand for skilled laborers. If Weir’s predictions turn out true, the program could boast two sections, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Weir said that he is excited to make use of the new facility, which VACTE has leased out for three years to coincide with the sale of its old facility via a three year lease-to-own contract. Weir was unequivocal about his desire to build a dedicated CTEC center — something similar to Yavapai College’s Career and Technical Center in Prescott.
But he admitted that an expenditure of that magnitude is unlikely in the near future. “I’m happy here,” Weir said. “We’ve got a lot more work to do. We’ve barely broken the crust.”
In addition to VACTE- dedicated spaces, the middle classroom of the new campus has been leased out to Yavapai College for its phlebotomy lab. Weir hopes to encourage VACTE students enrolled in its nursing program to enroll in phlebotomy certification courses to complement their professional resume and skill set.
For the 2018-19 year, VACTE is looking to offer two new certification programs:
- Hotel and Restaurant Management at the Yavapai College Sedona Center and potentially a Camp Verde location on Fridays.
- Education Professions at VACTE and satellite campuses.
Join VACTE for its grand opening Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., with a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m.
One of Arizona’s 14 Joint Technical Education Districts, Valley Academy for Career and Technology Education is a public school district that offers career and technical education programs to sophomores, juniors and seniors throughout Sedona and the Verde Valley. VACTE serves students from public, private and charter schools, as well as students who are home-schooled. VACTE also serves students under the age of 22 who have not earned a diploma or GED certificate. In addition to programs traditionally offered at Mingus Union High School, Camp Verde High School and Sedona Red Rock High School, VACTE offers central campus certifi- cate programs including construction, culinary, fire science, medical assistant, nursing assistant and welding. When possible, VACTE works with local secondary education and adult CTE schools to offer classes, certificates and college credit. For more information, visit vacte.com or call 634-7131.