News / Edmonton

Alberta expands career focused program for junior high students

Elwood Willier, 14 demonstrates his work to Education Minister David Eggen at Westmount Junior High School.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Elwood Willier, 14 demonstrates his work to Education Minister David Eggen at Westmount Junior High School.

More Alberta students will be able to dabble in theatrical makeup, robotics, computer programming and the trades, as the province moves to expand the career and technology foundations program.

Currently a pilot, the program is offered to students in grades five to nine in a handful of school jurisdictions, but Education Minister David Eggen said it's time for it to expand.

“It’s been an evolution years in the making and this is a chance for career and technology foundations to bust out across the province,” he said.

The program is an offshoot of the Career and Technology Studies program available in high schools, but is designed for younger students. 

It is currently offered at Westmount Junior High School. Staff report it has lead to increased enrollment and better attendance since it was introduced.

Eggen said it just enhances students’ current education.

“Our focus on basic literacy and numeracy is intact and enhanced by these pursuits.”

Edmonton Public School Board chair Michael Janz said it’s great to be able to offer the program more widely. 

“Parents are asking for more choices and more options and we know that’s increasing student engagement,” he said. “We hear from our schools that kids are really benefiting and requesting and desiring this program.”

School boards will not be getting additional money to offer the program, but Janz said that’s not necessary to make it successful. 

“It’s not necessarily a funding issue, it is how we direct our resources.”

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