Omaha Students Learn at the Career Center

career-center“This is where I do what I want. I live for this. I dream this. I sleep it,” says high school senior Bruce Koch.

For a normal high school boy, you might think he’s talking about the baseball field or his favorite video game, maybe an awesome restaurant. The cool thing? He’s talking about his education.

Koch is one of 700 students that heads to the Omaha Career Center every single day to work on skills outside the classroom. Koch, who is working with cars and has been enrolled for three years, joined several other students in a video for Omaha’s KETV site in admiring the possibilities that the career center can open up for them.

For example, student Connor Evans took advantage of his new knowledge to get a job at a local restaurant: A class at the center helped him get a SafeServe certification and a few college credits. Most importantly, it taught him not to crack under pressure: “I was just getting the hang of the fast-pacedness of the class, and to me, it was just really cool flipping that egg for the first time without breaking it– just without breaking the yolk. To me, that was a big accomplishment,” Evans said.

Most students head back to their home school, but some spend half the day at the center located in a historic Omaha building. Tim Hoffman, program director, says the goal of the center is to expose kids to different options: “Find out whether it’s something they like and want to pursue as a career, or maybe find out they don’t like it and that’s good too,” he told KETV.

Logistically, students register for Career Center classes through their home school counselor during regular class registration. Whether students hope to learn skills in work or simply a more well-rounded education, the Career Center aims to make students more competitive and more productive in whatever they attempt to do. Classes meet for 80 minutes daily, and students can earn two credits per semester for each full year course. Learning styles are different at the Career Center, with a stronger focus on hands-on, lab-oriented classes that work with up-to-date technology in a given field.

Courses include auto technology, health occupations, motor sport repair, radio broadcasting, television broadcasting, culinary skills, photography, construction, and more (find a full list of options here). And as Hoffman explains, even if a class turns out not to be a good fit for a student, it’s still an experience that will help them figure out what they like and don’t like, what they want to do and what they don’t want to do. With either result, it’s a valuable opportunity.

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