School District experiences CTE teacher shortage
With Tesla, Blockchains, Switch, and other companies establishing in Northern Nevada, career opportunities for Churchill County School District students are opening.
However, in order to educate and prepare students for a future in the field, the district is in dire need of Career Technical Education instructors.
“There’s a need to build a strong foundation for this,” said Rich Evans, retiring CTE teacher of Churchill County High School. “There isn’t a lot of CTE teachers anymore. They’re educated in the field, but they’re not teachers.”
Currently at CCHS, instructors for auto shop and construction are vacant.
“We need to have someone to stick around and have students to be familiarized with,” said Trustee Matt Hyde. “Students will lose interest if teachers keep changing.”
Evans presented his concern to trustees during the board meeting Wednesday. He also retired from the role in May.
He also explained to trustees the importance of learning under the profession of teaching, such as how to teach an automotive class. He said some of his students ended up getting scholarships or jobs at Tesla.
Evans said the district also needs a CTE coordinator.
“There’s tremendous opportunities for the youth of this community to become successful but we need the teachers,” he said. “We have to have the right instructors and talk to the right facilities.”
Superintendent Sandra Sheldon said CTE can be funded in several ways such as state funding, federal dollars focused toward equipment and resources, or a competitive grant with the state which could include items such as welding equipment, stoves for culinary arts, and a greenhouse.
Churchill Economic Development Authority Executive Director Nate Strong attended the meeting to promote CTE needs in the district.
“It’s a crisis,” he said. “It needs to be funded. Over 50 percent of jobs now require tech fundamentals.”
CCHS Principal Kevin Lords said a teacher training program is offered at the high school for district teachers and interviews for a CTE department head have been completed.
The topic of CTE is scheduled to be revisited at the June 13 meeting.