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Riverside: Engines hum and tech careers grow!
A long retired high school “shop” teacher would not recognize the high-tech magic taking place in most of today’s modern schools. Walk into David Howard’s working classroom at Riverside High School (Riverside School District) and the view might be even more jaw-dropping.

Howard, the school’s Career and Technical Education instructor and Skills USA adviser, is serious indeed about school-to-career connections. The evidence is found in the courses he teaches:

Carbon Fiber Composites; Power Sports; Power Mechanics and (still as useful and necessary as ever) Welding.

Howard’s work space resembles an industrial production center in which students practice the skills employers want.

Donations from industrial sponsors – including Harley-Davidson, Honda, Stihl, Briggs and Stratton, Echo Power Equipment, Kioti Tractor and Yamaha Marine – allow students to assemble, disassemble, test and measure everything from motorcycles to lawn mower engines; light diesel drives to marine
propulsion systems.

Studies are geared to national certification in the power equipment industry; Howard is one of Eastern Washington’s only approved proctors for Engine Equipment Training Council certification exams.

Then there is the carbon fiber class, a new addition to this year’s curriculum. While carbon fiber is most commonly associated with the aerospace industry, it is a form of manufacturing that is also important to the medical, automobile and sporting goods industries.

Knowledge of carbon fiber fabrication is golden in today’s economy. Firms specializing in the design, analysis, prototyping and manufacturing of carbon fiber composites covet every qualified graduate they can find. In a Seattle-area high school offering a similar program, Boeing offered jobs to 36 of 36 graduates in the 2016 class.

Brock Zoyer is two years from high school graduation, but already showcasing the Riverside magic. Last year, as only a freshman, Zoyer
traveled to Tacoma and won a state championship in the high school Power Equipment Technology competition – an exhaustive knowledge and skills competition judged by industry professionals.

Zoyer is not alone in reaching high. All of Howard’s students receive a comprehensive, workplace-relevant education, coupled with a heavy emphasis on soft skills (show up on time, follow instructions, meet deadlines) that positions them well for next steps in their education and careers.

Depending on the task, Howard’s classroom has been known to produce its share of noise. Noise is good. Noise is the sound of engines humming on all cylinders in more ways than one.
Engines Hum and Tech Careers Grow!
Engines Hum and Tech Careers Grow!

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