Dr. Marley Morris was animated and enthusiastic as he outlined why Humble ISD’s Career and Technical Education Department is vital to Lake Houston’s economy.
“We want you to hire our kids when they’re finished with our programs,” Morris passionately told Rotary Club members at the Jan. 31 meeting at the Humble Civic Center. “They are so qualified; you’ll want to hire them.”
Career and Technical Education, also known as CTE, exposes students from seventh grade and up to careers in which they’ve got an interest.
“Our goal is to prepare our Humble ISD students so they’ll succeed in a world that is increasingly oriented toward highly skilled jobs,” Morris said.
Currently, some 14,000 Humble ISD students---up from just 8,600 a few years ago---are participating in 165 different courses, including automotive repair, cosmetology, sports medicine, food service, welding and dentistry, to name just a few.
“Our kids get training at the local hospitals or they can learn to be chefs. If you go to any area pharmacy, chances are the employees there were trained through our program,” Morris said. “We have students learning the criminal justice system, health science, air conditioning and heating, for example.”
It’s a myth, Morris told the Rotarians, that career and technical education is only for students who don’t plan to go to college or who perhaps aren’t academically inclined.
“Our kids learn skills that will carry them throughout their lives, regardless of what they eventually decide to do or where they go,” he said.
Students learn life skills, too. Morris spoke about a group of youngsters training in a nursing home where one of the residents had recently died.
“I was concerned when I saw them in the hallway, and asked them how they were doing," Morris said. "The patient death was a heartbreaking time for them, of course, but they still were happy about the course they chose. They all were enthusiastic about going into health care. That was the career route they had decided to choose.”
Morris was enthusiastic about getting Lake Houston residents involved in the CTE program.
“If you’ve got a business, we’ve got students who would like to learn from you and contribute,” he said. “Plus, we need cars and trucks to repair and refinish, and we always need hair to cut.”
The CTE cosmetology program, Morris said, especially needs male models.
“They need to practice cutting hair, and they do a great job,” Morris said, pointing to his own crisply trimmed and styled hair.
His students will train at the new Process Technology Center that Lone Star College will soon open at Generation Park near Summer Creek High School. His students also are taking emergency medical technology training through the Atascocita Volunteer Fire Department. And the CTE program is partnering with Lone Star’s fire science program to train Humble ISD students to be firemen.
“Because many of our students are under 18 when they finish our programs, they can’t yet qualify for certification, but we work with them so they can earn their certifications when they’re old enough,” Morris said.
Morris’ CTE program also has a place for Lake Houston residents who are way past their high school years.
“We have a community education program open to the public,” Morris told the Rotarians. “You can learn automotive maintenance or air conditioning repair, for example. And it’s free!”
Morris also introduced the presidents of Humble ISD’s five FFA clubs, who talked up the upcoming annual Humble ISD Livestock Show and Rodeo.
They announced that this year’s show is dedicated to longtime Rotarian and civic icon Jess Fields, owner of Rosewood Funeral Home.
The FFA presidents relayed the importance of the leadership training they receive as FFA members.
“FFA creates our future leaders,” one of the student presidents told the Rotarians, “and that really gives me an incredible, unfair advantage as I go out into the workforce.”
The Rotary Club of Humble meets Wednesdays at 11:45 a.m. at the Humble Civic Center. To learn more or to participate, visit humblerotary.com.