'I'm just lucky': New Alief ISD career center setting up students for success

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- For some high school students in Alief ISD, their future career is already in motion.

"This program is brand new," said veterinary science instructor Erica Santillan. "We just launched this year. We started literally from scratch from the ground up."

She's referring to the Alief Center for Advanced Careers, where high school students can take advanced courses in careers such as architectural design and veterinary science.

The building sits on the corner of Richmond Ave. and West Houston Center Blvd., and inside, students begin planning their future with an introduction course and ultimately choose a career path.

Once they've got their eyes set on a plan, that's when they execute.

Santillan believes it's a game changer.

"The huge benefit here is so when our seniors graduate here, they will already have their certification to then go out and pursue a job," said Santillan."

When students are ready to graduate from high school, they'll be equipped with the certifications they would normally get at a trade or vocational school.

Veterinary science students learn everything from animal care to grooming, and according to the center, six students have already landed jobs at veterinary clinics.

Deshon Tucker and Elizabeth Nguyen said they're now inspired to become veterinarians.

"This class actually gave me an opportunity to actually study and become what I wanted be in life," said Tucker.

For Nguyen, the center's resources gave her guidance.

"I still have friends who are lost through high school," said Nguyen. "They don't know where they want to be, but I'm just lucky that I know I want to be this."

Meanwhile, culinary art students learn everything from knife handling to baking, and restaurant management.

Mason Woodyard said she's already planning her own pastry shop.

"It's something that I'm good at, and something that I really love to do," said Woodyard. "It's just something about it that I can't explain."

The district now has all of its high schools involved in the program.

For a full list of career programs, click here.
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.