Northeast Metro Business VHEDC 2018 - Page 38

LUCY GUNELSON IT PATHWAYS STUDENT L ucy Gunelson, currently a sophomore at White Bear Lake High School, is a passionate IT Pathways student. She might have chosen the Healthcare Pathways route but explains, “As much as I would like to be a doctor or nurse, I don’t really have the stomach for it. I was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when I was 2 ½ years old and was in and out of the hospital a lot during treatment, so I’m not comfortable with needles and blood. In 8th grade, when I researched robotics in the medical field for a ‘basic engineering’ assignment, I became intrigued with soft robotic prostheses. I needed to rely on braces for part of my recovery, and they were uncomfortable and made it difficult to deal with daily life. That research in 8th grade helped me decide what I wanted to focus on for a career.” Career Navigator Kerg says, “In a lot of ways, our established Manufacturing Pathway program is the framework we are using for the other evolving pathways to create a sustainable Career Pathways Program. Our Manufacturing Lab at White Bear Lake High School is amazing! Our kids get first-hand, industry standard experience, and their parents are embracing manufacturing- career choices more because they realize there are a lot of livable wage jobs in the manufacturing industry. Today’s ‘shop classes’ are as clean as scientific labs! In fact, many manufacturing jobs are STEM jobs Currently, Lucy is enrolled in IT Explorations, a Century College credit class. Part of her coursework this year involves computer programming. In her junior year, she’ll take AP Computer Science. She says, “One of my favorite parts of IT Explorations is when we took apart old computer towers and had to identify computer jacks! I’m a hands-on person. I’m a visual learner, so when I can take apart and reconstruct a computer, that’s a favorite activity of mine. Tech Depot has been another favorite class, which I first took in 8th grade; I learned how to fix a Chromebook. It was an amazing experience for me because it gave me basic knowledge of IT and hardware. After she graduates from high school, Lucy may go to MIT. “That’s one of my first choices. But, Dunwoody College of Technology would be a great school to go. It has a good reputation. I could get an AAS in Electrical Engineering, and they offer an Industrial Controls and Robotics course.” 38 Vadnais Heights Business Guide & Community Profile requiring strong knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.” Presently, the biggest challenge facing Kerg is creating a sustainable Construction Pathway that closely mirrors the highly successful Manufacturing Pathway. “There are 27 building trades with a lot of different entry points for workers, such as: roadway, residential and commercial construction; and electrical, plumbing, sheet metal and iron trades. Construction workers MUST be 18 years old. I help students who want to go to work by connecting with union construction training centers. It is a different process than the one in which a student applies to go to technical school. We are currently exploring concurrent enrollment options, as well as, working to create an apprenticeship readiness model so that when students graduate they are prepared for an apprenticeship program.” White Bear Lake High School Career Navigator Jeremy Kerg says, “We truly value our relationship with VHEDC! Executive Director Ling Becker is a valuable asset. She offers the business perspective and we offer the education perspective. Ling is a great partner who continually connects us with industry partners, assists with program development, and provides innovative, ‘outside- the-box’ thinking.”