by Dr. N. Shalene French, Superintendent of Caldwell School District
Nathan Farris, left, and Ilijah Velasquez, both recent graduates of Caldwell High School, pose for a photo at College of Western Idaho’s Micron Education Center on Tuesday, June 5, in Nampa. Farris and Velasquez are participating in the Welding Summer Bridge pilot program developed by Idaho Career & Technical Education.
The Welding Summer Bridge pilot program developed by Idaho Career & Technical Education (ICTE) is giving 14 high school seniors the opportunity to become certified welders in a shortened amount of time. The idea is to “bridge” the 10 credits the students earned in high school with the credits required for their first-year of college, during the summer after high school graduation. Students completing the summer program will then be able to register for fall courses as a second-year welder.
The program is designed to tackle two problems. One, getting more students into postsecondary CTE programs that were cohort model programs and two, getting more skilled workers into the workforce to meet the skills gap in high-demand occupations.
The program was opened as a pilot to high school concentrators in welding pathway programs across the state to assist students with continuing their career journey. Students shared interest by reaching out to their teachers and contacting a college transition coordinator. To be eligible, students had to pass their technical skills assessment (TSA), their postsecondary assessment (PSA), and attend a student/parent orientation to learn more.