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Justin Wagner, IGNITE Pathways
IGNITE Pathways’ Career Paths are Industry Relevant. We work closely with our business partners to identify or create instructional programs that equip students with the skills needed in the workforce today, including soft skills (attendance, communication, work ethic).
“I was asked to teach this course, and it is important enough that I get up early to get my work done, before teaching these kids how to weld and work in a production setting.”
Local manufacturer, Tommy Gate International, has struggled with finding and keeping qualified welders and machinists. That’s why they went all in when IGNITE requested assistance in developing a quality welding program. Tommy Gate offered up their best welder, Terry Oestmann, to teach the courses and provide apprenticeship and employment opportunities to qualified students.
"I knew what I wanted to do. I just wanted to weld. After I graduate, I want to become a steamfitter."
Carter, Senior from Woodbine, knew what he wanted to do after graduation. In fact, Carter didn’t really care if he graduated or not. He just wanted to weld. His father was a welder at Tommy Gate, and Carter wanted to follow in his footsteps.
From day one, students are working in the field, collaborating with area business partners to provide meaning and relevance to the career path they have chosen. Work-based learning and registered apprenticeships lead to employment opportunities in high-demand jobs.
"The best way for kids to learn is by getting their hands dirty. When we build a house together, the students learn all aspects of the construction industry."
Eric Moores, a local contractor from Woodbine, has the perfect personality to work with a variety of students who are trying to decide what they want to do when they graduate. Eric is not afraid to let students get their hands on equipment and tools. Together with students, Construction Trades has built or remodeled 8 houses in Woodbine.
“I’ve been a part of building xx houses through this program. I’ve done everything from framing and roofing, to laying wood flooring and tile.”
Cory, a Senior from Woodbine, grew up with a passion for construction (his father is in the industry). Cory has worked on several houses in the Construction Trades classes, putting in extra hours on weekends and school breaks. Cory’s work ethic and experience made him an excellent candidate for an internship with Arch Icon, a regional building developer.
IGNITE Pathways employs industry professionals with current expertise to provide the most up-to-date job-specific training possible. Our instructors (we call them Navigators) work closely with the Iowa Department of Education to acquire the licensure necessary to teach high school students.
"I'm passionate about flying, and I love having the opportunity to teach the IGNITE students how to fly and fly safely."
Navigator Curtis Lee brings his passion for aviation and experience as a certified flight instructor to IGNITE Pathways.
“Curtis is a great instructor and his attitude towards flying makes the class fun and easy to learn. Anyone in his class can tell how much he loves flying.”
Jordan, junior from Logan-Magnolia, has always wanted to fly and never dreamed he would have the opportunity in high school.
The IGNITE curriculum combines industry-specific hands-on learning with opportunities to earn core credits towards graduation (English, Math, Science, Social Studies). Core credits are demonstrated through competency-based learning and are validated by licensed core teachers from Woodbine High School.
“Navigators infuse core competencies into course content. This approach provides relevance for the Champions, allows more time for hands-on learning, and adds value to the overall experience.”
Curriculum director, Michelle Barry, helps students craft a challenge-based plan that infuses core standards with career path proficiency standards. Local business, Building Blocks Academy, needed a pergola and Bernie needed a hands on project. With the help of core high school teachers, Bernie’s challenge plan incorporated English and Math credits.
"I'm not a school person. IGNITE Pathways has changed everything for me. I get to work hands-on and get core credit for it."
Bernie, a Woodbine junior, is the first to admit that he doesn’t like school. But Bernie is an excellent student when given opportunities to work with his hands. It’s a win-win situation when Bernie is able to earn core credits through his challenge-based community project.
As a parent, I don’t know if she has any other classes in the school, because IGNITE is the one she talks about all the time.
- Eric, IGNITE Parent
I don’t like English, it’s my worst subject. At IGNITE, I can take English, and instead of sitting in a desk, I get to work on a challenge.
- John, Junior
With this program, I can start building my future and get ahead of students who don’t have this available.
- Oakley, Senior