How One School District In Texas Is Making Sure Its Students Are Prepared For Real Life

A school district in Dallas created a course meant to teach graduating seniors how to succeed in the real world after high school should they choose to forgo heading straight off to college.

By Brian Scheid | Published

real life

The question that graduating high school seniors always face is, what are you doing after graduation this spring? The preprogrammed answer we hear from almost all is that they will be heading off to college in the fall even though the reality for some is that their families can’t afford to pay for it or they have no desire to further their institutional education. A Dallas school district is stepping up to help students that fall into this category with coursework that prepares the students for real-life directly after high school.

The course offers students the opportunity to learn how to successfully navigate our economy’s competitive job market. In partnership with a local work skills development company called “ReadyToWork,” the students can obtain training certifications and prepare them for real-life experiences. According to CBS News reporter Robbie Owens, “They are working in eight of the district’s high schools to offer students certifications in fields ranging from automotive to logistics and so much more.” They focus on connecting the extremely important soft skills a potential employee would need as well as the hard skills that are being certified by the course. 

Many high school students wilt to the pressures of attending college even though they know in their hearts that they don’t wish to follow that path. They will resort to taking out loans or receiving grants to be able to attend college and because of that disinterest in higher education, they do not perform well. When they don’t complete the degree program, they have student loans to pay back and that starts once they stop attending college.  

These types of high school programs do not dissuade students from attempting to obtain a college degree. In fact, when CBS spoke with the students currently enrolled in the program some mentioned that they would love to go to college directly after graduation but their families cannot afford the additional cost. This opportunity gives them the ability to obtain meaningful employment after graduating high school to be able to save enough money to further their education down the road.

Students in the Hospitality and Tourism program at Kimball High School are already getting on-the-job experience through an internship program during the summer months. According to Kimball High senior Michelle Salazar, “At one point we were doing internships during the summer, it was a really good opportunity for us to know how to be out in the real world, how we’re going to work, how we’re going to make money, how we have to be on time for stuff.”

This is the real-life experience that most high school graduates do not have and if they decide to not attend college they enter the workforce unprepared for the challenges and obstacles they will inevitably face. These are the type of programs that are needed all across our nation as the college degree has been increasingly devalued over time. It would strengthen our country’s workforce by having qualified and experienced people entering the job market.

It also sets these kids up for success, instead of them going this route and instantly failing and making it difficult for them to find their footing in our society. The benefits of this program outweigh the perceived notion that this type of program will cause students to opt out of higher education. What it will do is give an additional option to people that feel their only options are to take a menial job upon graduation or go to college and wind up in significant debt without a degree to show for it.