BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new study questions the traditional route to college.  It found some students need to learn a trade first.

As Gigi Barnett explains, school leaders have a program designed to offer career and college.

For hundreds of Baltimore City students, the path to college starts with learning a trade like surgical technology or being a nail technician.  According to a new Harvard University study released this week, some students should learn a trade as early as middle school.

“The medical field is a hard job so I think me actually getting experience early helps me in the long run,” said one.

City school leaders say the study confirms that their career and technical education program is right on target by helping students earn certifications in moneymaking trades during their final year of high school.

“We’ve been doing it right in Baltimore City,” said Michael Thomas.

Thomas runs the CTE prgram. In the past, when a student learned a trade, that meant a direct route to the workforce.  Now, students can have career and college.

“Imagine going into an industry with a trade.  Imagine going to an IT Department and you have your certification, so instead of making $8 an hour, you’re making $18 an hour,” Thomas said.

Diamond Hardy plans to be a psychologist, but she’s doing nails now because money earned with a trade will send her to college.

“When I’m in school, a side job, I can do that and you can meet new people,” she said.

The CTE program is in all of the city’s high schools and six middle schools.  The program also partners students with local businesses for internships and field trips.

February is National Career and Technology Month.


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