News - 03/11/2013

Career Technical Education Open House Sets Students' Eyes on the Future

CTE Open House

More than 200 high school students got a taste of MiraCosta College’s myriad of Career Technical Education programs when they visited the Oceanside Campus on March 8 for a day-long open house.

Students said they were impressed.

“I really liked everything they showed us, especially the nursing program,” Oceanside High School junior Lindsey Cordada said. “It has definitely helped motivate me.”

The open house, which included motivational speeches during an after-lunch assembly, took groups of students to four classrooms offering a range of subjects from Digital Arts to Automotive Technology. Instructors detailed CTE programs that offer certificates of proficiency and certificates of achievement that can lead to high-paying professions. 

“A lot of our kids are not interested in going to college, so we want them to see what MiraCosta College has to offer,” said Nancy Martinelli, who teaches a CTE program focusing on child development at Oceanside High School. “It’s really good for the students. They don’t know a lot of the programs here. This should really help them continue with their education.”


Isachsen was one of the more than a dozen instructors taking part in the March 8 open house. His presentation included a graphic detailing the paths taken by several friends who attended West Valley Community College with him in San Jose. All went on to successful careers in the public or private sectors.

“The message here today for these students is that MiraCosta College is a viable, affordable option,” Isachsen said.

During a discussion with a group of students in the Adult High School Diploma Program, Automotive Technology instructor Paul Katson detailed how earning a certificate of proficiency or a certificate of achievement can yield a solid middle-class income. “There are so many jobs out there that are related to the automotive industry,” he said. To help illustrate his point, Katson detailed the story of a former student majoring in English who took an auto technology class. She went on to become a technical writer who puts together owner’s manuals for Chrysler.

Instructor Steve Vail noted that MiraCosta College regularly updates its Automotive Technology facilities, meaning “you guys are getting trained on the latest equipment out there, and we’re pretty proud of that.”

Added Vail: “We teach teamwork here. We want people to work in groups. Teamwork is important. When you go out there to get a job, there are a lot of dealerships that are set up to work in teams.”

Getting a good job was a message of consistency throughout the day. Media Arts Technology instructor Karl Cleveland noted that it wasn’t enough for his CTE department to train students on the latest advances in graphic design and website technology. “Every student coming out has to have a portfolio, which is what employers are really looking for.”

Oceanside High School teacher Debbie Foley, said the open house was invaluable. “The feedback I’ve gotten is that it’s been extremely helpful and has provided the kids with a lot of information. It’s given them the opportunity to explore.”

MiraCosta College has an extensive Career Technical Education program, and some 42 percent of students there enrolled in CTE courses last fall, said Mimi Lively, who works in the Career Technical Education office and organized the March 8 event.

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