Starting in the fall of the 2022-23 school year, the Blue Valley School District will be offering a handful of its students a chance to partake in two new Career Ready Programs.
The programs, cybersecurity and nail technology, will give students the opportunity to graduate with a certification in each field by attending classes at Johnson County Community College.
Adam Wessel, Blue Valley director of Career Ready Programs, said the idea to offer these two new options came through “collaborative discussion and conversation with JCCC.”
“We saw this as something a little bit different than what we were currently offering, which is a little more trades based like plumbing and welding,” Wessel said.
He said the hope is by offering a wider variety, more students will be attracted to the Career Ready Programs, especially those who may not have been as interested up until to this point.
Students enrolled in the cybersecurity program at the local community college will spend their days being taught network operations and product-specific requirements for programs like Windows, Linux and more.
They will take classes over the span of four semesters, as it is a part time program.
For three days a week, students will attend regular classes in the morning at their home high school before heading to JCCC in the afternoon to take two to three classes in cybersecurity per semester.
“JCCC has planned it out so that they start with IT courses first, so that students are not required to come in with any prerequisites from Blue Valley,” said Sarah Beren, Blue Valley Career Ready Program liaison to JCCC.
Beren said students who finish the program and receive their certification can move on to earn a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or, in some cases, immediately go into the workforce.
Only offered to juniors and seniors, the new program is limited to eight students for the first year.
With the district’s technician program, students will learn how to deliver “top-notch” nail services through hands-on classroom and salon clinic experience at the JCCC cosmetology school.
Nail technology is a 10-hour program that will be done all in the first semester of a student’s senior year.
Beren said since students will need to be in class from 8 a.m. to noon every Monday through Friday at the cosmetology school, they won’t have time for more than a class or two at their original high school.
“The time constraint is why the program is only open to first semester seniors,” she said.
Upon turning 18, those who have completed the coursework will be eligible to take the Kansas State Board of Cosmetology, or nail technician certification exam, and could start working as soon as they pass.
The program is also unique in that it is the only program offered by the district that is selective admissions, meaning students have to apply for an opportunity to be enrolled in the course.
“The college is doing the selection process,” Beren said. “The admissions process is basically the same as it is for our dual-degree kids. They apply and then take a college placement exam.”
Due to physical limitations, only three students will be offered the opportunity to enroll in the nail technology program in its first year.