BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Students, are you looking for a way to get a jump on your college education or career? The Kern High School District offers two options to help their students get ahead.
The Kern High School District offers two programs, one is workforce training at the Regional Occupation Center. The other is dual enrollment, which allows high school students to get college credit. This is the fourth school year KHSD has offered dual enrollment, meaning these seniors are the first full class to have had dual enrollment their entire high school careers.
Robotics, welding and fire fighter training are a few of the programs offered at the Kern High School District’s Regional Occupational Center or ROC preparing students for the workforce.
Kern High School ROC Principal, Brian Miller, said, "Available to any junior or senior in the Kern High School District. We’re the career training school for the district. So students come here for a three hour a day training program in a wide variety of careers.”
Currently there are 27 programs offered at the ROC with five more being added next school year. But training future KHSD grads for a career in the Kern County workforce isn’t the only program they offer. The other is their dual enrollment program. The class of 2019 is the first graduating class to have had access to college credits in high school thanks to the dual enrollment program.
“So they get the introductory course done while they’re in high school and that connects them to the college as part of the pathway," said Miller. "And when they start college they’ve already got those one or two classes out of the way. They start at the second or third course of the sequence.”
Miller said those colleges they’re paired with are Bakersfield College, Cal State University Bakersfield and Cerro Coso College.
Kameron Barnes is a senior enrolled in the ROC. He’s working through their fire fighter program. He said this program is giving his a step up on his future competition.
“Being a fire fighter requires a lot of prerequisites before you go into college," said Barnes. "So having this class is actually a good opportunity to get ahead of these prerequisites and kind of get a foot in the door before anyone else does.”
Barnes said being a fire fighter has been a life long dream of his.
“I’ve been intrigued with the fire truck ever since I was little,” said Barnes.
Now he said he wants to work as hard as he can in a high school program to be ready for college and a future as a fire fighter.
“It’s really helpful that we get to have some B.C. credits and we just go right up the hill and we get to transfer them right over without cost or without really any hassle. So dual enrollment has played a big part in my life so far,” said Barnes.
Programs at ROC give students hands on learn as well as an opportunity to learn from current professionals in their field. Ta’ana Mitchell is one of those professionals who came up from the Los Angeles City Fire Department to talk with a class. She said she wished she had access to either the ROC or the dual enrollment programs when she was in school.
“If this was around," said Mitchell, "and I would have been more receptive to a program like this back when I was in high school and junior high, I would have participated from a very early age. And that’s why I give back a lot of my time with Los Angeles City to teach individuals, young ones, that advantage of this. It’s here.”
Barnes has these suggestion for students to join either the ROC or the dual enrollment programs. “So I would definitely say just focus on the future, and kind of see where you see yourself in a couple of years. And if you see yourself in one of these programs that they offer here, definitely get involved with your counselor and get connected. Then once you do end up in the program that you want to be in just make sure you work hard and dedicate yourself to the programs.”
Both the ROC and the dual enrollment programs are free for KHSD students. And for students like Kameron Barnes, he said knows the ROC gives him a chance to test different careers before joining the workforce and the dual enrollment will help save him time and money when he starts his college career.
For more information about KHSD's programs visit their website: www.kernhigh.org