A couple of generations ago, most high school trade classes comprised sessions in wood shop, auto mechanics, and home economics. However, administration of Morgan School District began recognizing the value that learning a trade could be towards a well-rounded education. These desires led to Morgan High School’s current Utah Career and Technical Education (CTE) program headed by Mr. Robert Kilmer, CTE Director and instructor. While past classes catered to only a few students who were choosing alternative academic paths, current CTE classes provide instruction to over 75% of students enrolled at Morgan High School. The CTE program allows students to learn and become industrial-level certified during their high school years and ready to work immediately after graduation. Many students choose to either take that certification and advance their careers in whatever option they choose to obtain more certification and qualifications, or work through college by earning a higher wage than may have been expected in the past.
While MHS enjoys a high graduation rate of 91%, students who are “CTE concentrators” or whose schedule comprises a majority of CTE-focused classes, display a graduation rate of over 95%. In addition, 75% of students who are CTE concentrators often move on to obtain a postsecondary education, enroll in military service, or obtain advanced training, allowing them to be much more valuable in their chosen industry. During the 2016-2017 academic year, nearly 600 CTE Skills Certificates were awarded in business, computer science, trades classes, certified nursing assistance, and a myriad of other areas of study now available to each MHS student, free of charge or at greatly reduced rates. Robert Kilmer has established a school within a school that not only allows students to obtain licensure in jobs that pay a higher wage right out of high school, but also provides skills that better ensure a student’s success in college, a career, and beyond.