Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas High Schools to Offer Career Training for Energy Field ; Energy: 50K Participants Reported

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Kansas High Schools to Offer Career Training for Energy Field ; Energy: 50K Participants Reported

Article excerpt

Some Kansas schools will soon offer another option for career- focused education: high-school courses designed for careers in the energy field.

Eileen Caspers, who heads career education at Topeka Unified School District 501, called the news that schools can roll out three- course pathways targeting the energy industry "very exciting."

"There's just a whole wide array of careers once a student digs in and finds out what it's about," Caspers said.

Those range from working as a lineman to engineering and finance, she said, and students may not be aware that there are high-demand, well-paying jobs in the field.

According to the Kansas Department of Labor, for example, average annual entry-level pay for Topeka-area power line workers is $47,180. Experienced linemen earn around $73,400 a year and median pay for the occupation is about $62,000.

USD 501 is one of several districts across the state interested in offering the energy courses, and it collaborated with utility companies and other school districts and post-secondary schools seeking to develop them.

"This gives a nice planned pathway for a student who is interested," Caspers said.

In recent years, schools in Kansas and other states have focused increasingly on preparing students for life after high school. That push has included rolling out new math, English and science standards meant to be more rigorous and relevant for college studies. It also has meant bolstering career and technical education at high schools, allowing more students to earn industry-recognized credentials that could lead to employment directly after graduation.

Jay Scott, who coordinates career education matters at the Kansas State Department of Education, said plans for an energy pathway began with utility companies like KCP&L and Westar Energy seeking ways to interest high-schoolers in energy. Utility companies are facing an increase in workers approaching retirement age, Scott said.

"They realized the demand they're going to have and the current state of their workforce and said, we've got to reach out to education and start growing our own," he said. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.