At the Beatrice Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, the board reviewed a new class and a new career academy option for students. According to the Beatrice Daily Sun, next year, all BHS juniors and seniors will enroll in a class called “Personal Finance and Career Readiness,” a dynamic class that will include guest speakers and partnership supports.
In addition, the district will begin to offer Legal/Law Enforcement classes in conjunction with the Southeast Nebraska Career Academy program. This program currently enables BHS students to take education, welding, health, business, marketing, and management academies, all involving interdisciplinary vocational education courses that take students outside the traditional classroom.
With the advent of vocational training and an emphasis on varieties of traditional learning, not simply catering to one type, it seems that course offerings from high schools to colleges to manufacturers themselves have become more variable in their content. Today is an exciting time to be a student. After all, you can take law enforcement classes in high school along with your traditional math and reading!
We set out to find what other unusual or exciting classes are offered around the country, ones that cater to a specific skill set and train for a particular position. Some of them are college classes, and some aren’t offered by schools at all.
Ice Cream Manufacturing: Maybe you didn’t know it, but your dream job is to be an ice cream manufacturer. The Penn State Ice Cream Short Course is designed to take students “from cow to cone,” instructing professionals in production and quality control, research and development, sales and management of manufacturing companies, and more!
Each year, 120 interested students that Penn State calls the “Who’s Who of Ice Cream,” representatives from ice cream manufacturers and industry leaders from Haagen-Dazs, Ben and Jerry’s, and Blue Bell come together in January to learn all there is to know about ice cream manufacturing. Penn State says that almost every ice cream company in the world has someone in the staff who has attended the course or who is a Penn State graduate.
Manufacturing at the Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Manufacturing couldn’t find skilled workers with the right problem-solving abilities, technical expertise, and communication skills, so they started their own degree program. In conjunction with Bluegrass Community College, the AMT program allows students to finish with an associate’s degree, but every class is held at Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. The best part is that almost every student who completes the program ends up with a job, and the starting salary for an advanced manufacturing technician at Toyota is nearly $65,000 per year.
Toy Lab: At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 90 students each year can elect to take the Toy Lab class, where 15 teams of six have a theme and $750 to design and prototype a toy or a game. The students have a complete prototyping lab at their disposal, but the opinion that matters is the kids’. Teams give their prototype to the kids, whose feedback determines their grade. Students spend the entire semester building and playing—literally.
If there are any cool classes we missed, leave them in the comments section below! We’d love to learn about them, too.