Although industry-based certifications at Glen Rose High School have been around for a while, not many people know about them.
Similar to how dual credit classes work for college, Glen Rose High School currently has several certifications in different areas like Google analytics, food handling, certified medical assistant, occupational safety and health administration, Adobe Illustrator and welding.
“These things aren’t meant to be something that ‘Hey, the student stops there.’ It's just getting the certification to kind of get you into that field and then you go from there,” said Glen Rose High School Principal Kelly Shackelford.
Shackelford also said that with students obtaining certifications in certain areas, it will allow them to bypass individuals in jobs who have less experience than them.
In fact, one student came up to auto tech teacher Randall Bozarth and asked for help obtaining his welding certification.
“We called [Hill] College and asked them to help us out so [they] came and visited with us. They brought their instructor and we got this young man certified in four out of the five areas,” Bozarth said. “The young man left the school and within a week was on a job site welding and making $1,500 a week. He continues to come back and say ‘Mr. Bozarth, thank you so much.’ He continues to thank me and it wasn’t me; it was the school that did the work, but that’s what we’re looking for is a young man or woman to go out and use that certification to benefit them.”
Bozarth said the student has been welding for a couple of years now and is even trying to recruit other students to work with him.
“He actually got beat up one time because he was certified over a gentleman that was about 40 years old and they took him instead of the 40-year-old so he actually had to defend himself. It’s an amazing story that he utilized what we’re offering here,” Bozarth said.
“That was his passion and we feel like, ‘Well, why not help somebody get there?’” Shackelford said. “With interior design, we may only have eight or nine [students join] but you know what? Let’s help them. Everybody can try to find their niche and we just want to help them.”
Students even have the ability to earn their firefighter and EMT certifications.
First, they would need to put in many hours volunteering for the fire department.
“You kind of have to start as a freshman or sophomore,” Shackelford said. “In order to get your firefighter’s certification, you have to get an EMT certification. We don’t have anyone here who can teach somebody how to be a firefighter. We do have somebody that can teach you how to be an EMT but that’s not a lot of our students’ end goal. We talked to the fire department and they said, ‘Yeah, we’ll set them up and they can come down and get their service hours in.’”
Once a student reaches their junior year, they can start going to the fire department and receive hands-on instruction. The only issue, Shackelford said, is the conflict with electives and activities after school.
“We have so many kids involved in after-school activities that in order to do this it sometimes interferes with that so that’s gotta be their thing, but we’re trying to make it work where they can do both and our fire department is assisting in that. We're hoping that some freshman or sophomores take advantage of that and do some volunteer hours and next year as juniors, we can put them into a class where they’re going down there for a couple of periods a day and then allowed to come back here after school,” he said.
Glen Rose High School even offers certifications for becoming a state park guide and for students to obtain their FFA drone pilot’s license.
"Our student body has broken the norm and our administration has broken the norm that these programs out here are for kids who are not college-bound,” Bozarth said.