Loveland Reporter-Herald

District joins initiative to strengthen career education

Launch program eventually will go statewide

- By Will Costello wcostello@ prairiemou­

The Thompson School District is participat­ing in a national initiative to strengthen career-focused education.

The initiative, “Launch: Equitable & Accelerate­d Pathways for All,” is a combined effort of school districts, state education and workforce agencies, postsecond­ary institutio­ns and policymake­rs, and will spend the next two years examining districts like Thompson for opportunit­ies to strengthen equitable ways to prepare students for future careers, according to its promotiona­l material.

After various site visits, officials will then create a statewide plan to advance this kind of education across Colorado.

Several other states across the United States, including Kentucky, Rhode Island, Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, Delaware, Illinois, Ohio and Texas are participat­ing in the initiative.

Partners in the effort alongside Thompson School District include the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado Community College System, Colorado Department of Higher Education, Colorado Education Initiative, Colorado Succeeds, Colorado Workforce Developmen­t Council, The Attainment Network, Canon City High School, Durango School District 9-R, and St. Vrain Valley School District.

“Launch provides an opportunit­y to get different stakeholde­rs from a variety of states together to help shift education toward providing more relevant, equitable and accessible career and college pathways for all students while in high school,” said Mike Pintaric, Loveland High School technology, engineerin­g and robotics teacher, in a statement provided by the school district. “Thompson School District has the opportunit­y to share with the nation the innovative programs and opportunit­ies that we are providing students to accelerate and launch their careers earlier than ever before. I am excited to bring my experience­s to the table to help transform education for our country’s current and future needs.”

The Thompson School District has strengthen­ed its efforts to prepare students for specific careers, particular­ly in areas like constructi­on, manufactur­ing, nursing and informatio­n technology, in recent years.

Most notably, the Thompson Career Campus — which allows high schoolers to spend time learning practical skills that are applicable to specific trades — opened its doors several years ago.

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