“You can tell this building is a labor of love, and you can see the passion in the eyes of the students and the people who are making a big impact in their lives,” said Allen Couture, vice president of operations and security at Raytheon Missiles & Defense, who represented the company at the ceremony.
About 800 students take in-person day and night classes at the Tucson location, which is one of 15 central campuses the program operates in addition to 38 satellite campuses in partner public high schools. Established in 2007, Pima JTED serves 14 districts across a region of more than 12,000 square miles, according to its superintendent and CEO, Kathy Prather.
Students come from public, private, charter and home schools, and they choose from more than 60 courses in an extensive slate of subjects that includes science and engineering, business, art and design, industrial technologies and health sciences.
“It’s the modern version of what’s known as vocational education,” Prather said. “But CTE, or career and technical education, has evolved so that it’s for all students, whether they plan on going directly into the workforce, or doing more technical training beyond high school, or going to college.” There are no entrance exams, she added, and admission is through open enrollment.
“What JTED does is put these subjects on steroids,” said a Pima JTED principal, Mario Castro. “The funding that our county and state generate, combined with contributions from civic and industry partners, gives our students the maximum kind of experience that they need for their careers. That didn’t exist when I was in high school.”