CTE Students Learning Ropes at Area Businesses

by Ronnie Zamora/LFCISD

Area businesses are providing opportunities for learning to Los Fresnos High School Career and Technology Education (CTE) program students.

Thirty-five students taking the Business Practicum class at LFHS have the opportunity to take part in the Internship Program, where they get to intern unpaid for up to three hours four days a week.

It’s a win-win situation for the students and the businesses.

“We’re excited about the direction of the program,” CTE Director Ronnie Rodriguez said. “We’re thankful to our business partners. Right now, we have more businesses offering internships than we do students in the program.”

Students who can adjust their schedules to meet for two consecutive classes are doing so with the help of LFHS counselors. The class meets for first and second period from 8:30 to 10:55 a.m. and for fourth and fifth periods from 1:10 to 4:15 p.m.

Students are driven to the businesses in vans driven by school personnel and picked up to return to LFHS.

The program started with six students in 2015 to 53 this year. Some are also taking part in a co-op program where they are paid and provide their own transportation.

“There are still students joining the program. As more students become aware, there will be a higher enrollment,” said Mindy Quiroz, teacher and DECA sponsor.

Students will be rotated to different businesses three times in a semester.

“When we rotate them in a semester, they gain more experience in different fields of business, and attempt to get more hands-on training in more career scenarios,” Quiroz said. “They can get a better understanding what career may be for them.”

Because students are still in high school, participating partners can mold the students and train them properly. “They business partners are excited to see what the students can contribute to their businesses because of what they have learned in their computer classes and core classes.”

Dirty Al’s Restaurant is training three unpaid interns, and teaching them the ropes of positions such as host, server and kitchen worker.

“We’re excited to help inspire the students and help them get a job,” Dirty Al’s General Manager Jesse Aguilera said. “We able to teach them the right way about how to work. They are wonderful students eager to learn and they are getting good experience.”

Charlie Clark Nissan is a new partner.

“We were thrilled and excited to participate and to be able to help the students get a real job and get a real-life experience,” said Shirley Bralley, Director of Marketing.

Student intern Gadiel Ridley will be getting experience in several aspects of the vehicle business, mainly in the Service and Parts Department.

“This is a great opportunity for them and a great opportunity for us,” Bralley said. “We definitely want to be partners in a program like this to help students.”

Other businesses hosting students include several medical facilities like Los Fresnos Boys’ and Girls’ Pediatrics, Julian Alvarez Pediatrics, Los Fresnos Dental Center, Los Fresnos Eye Clinic and Brownsville Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Partners in the public service sector include Los Fresnos City Hall, Cameron County Courthouse, County Constable Precinct 4 Merced Burnias, City of Los Fresnos and Los Fresnos CISD Transportation Department.

Other business partners include Brownsville Toyota, Dargel Boats, State Farm David Armendariz in Los Fresnos, Wal-Mart in Los Fresnos, and Team Graphic in Los Fresnos.

“Any businesses interested in partnering with us are greatly welcome,” Quiroz said.  “We can find students to accommodate them either this semester or next semester in either Brownsville and Los Fresnos.”

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