Alief ISD students can embrace future careers at new center opening next fall

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Upon graduation, students participating in a new Alief ISD program will be ready to enter a high-paying industry. Anchor Tom Koch reports. (KTRK)

It isn't really college, but a new school in Alief ISD will seem like it.

The district is opening the Center for Advanced Careers next fall, where innovative, part-time classes could turn students into professionals without going to college.

It's a big, bold bet on the future in Alief, a new building where high school students can take advanced courses on everything from nursing and pharmacy studies to automotive and construction technology, even cybersecurity.

"All the different programs that can provide students opportunities to immediately enter the workforce on graduation in high skilled, high-paid wage jobs," says Kimberly Crow, Alief ISD's director of career and technical education. "Some of them making more money than a first year teacher who's been to school for four years."

For two hours a day next fall, five days a week, students can latch onto a career before they leave high school.

"Our goal was to not make it look like a traditional high school, so when students bus over from their high schools for their portion of the day, that they look at it as though I'm walking into my future," Crow said.

Even the building is futuristic, a glassy open design with windows that adjust to the light and save energy.

"So it moves to the pattern of the sun, the east in the morning, the windows are dark and in the west in the evenings, the windows are dark," Crow said.

Culinary arts will turn some into chefs, automotive labs will let others become certified mechanics.

There's even a studio for future broadcasters and an observation lab, where any student who wants can watch hands-on courses in robotics, computer maintenance or veterinary science.

"Our goal, as I said earlier, is to make this as industry realistic as possible," Crow said.

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