Posted Date: 08/08/2018
by: RISD Media Staff
There’s exciting things brewing at Raymondville Early College High School in the form of a new advanced nursing program and an innovative welding facility that are set in place for the 2018-19 school year.
This fall, in partnership with Costal Bend College, the nursing program will be expanded to offer a pre-registered nursing (RN) program.
Students enrolled in the program will have the opportunity to earn 15 college hours towards an LVN degree and Associates Degree in Nursing.
“This will be a bridge program into the LVN program,” explained Joann Posas, R.N., the District Health Care Coordinator, “and will give students the chance to save time and money by completing nursing courses while in high school. This is a great opportunity for students interested in the healthcare profession.”
Having a registered nurse employed by the district allows LVN level courses to be taught at RECHS.
The Texas Workforce Commission lists the occupation of nursing as one of the most in-demand professions in the state with an average median salary of more than $76,000 a year.
It’s estimated that 15,000 new nursing jobs will be available in the next ten years.
“Nurses are always in high demand. It’s a stable position that is very versatile,” said Posas, a twenty-year veteran in the medical field, “you can work in a doctor’s office, clinics, home health, or hospitals. Helping others is very job satisfying.”
Assistant Superintendent Benjamin Clinton stated that the district has clear goals for the nursing program.
“Our goal in the next two years is to graduate students as LVNs. In four years, which will be our current freshmen group, we plan to graduate students with an Associates Degree (R.N.),” said Clinton.
Thanks to a $222,000 Dual Credit Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission, the district is planning to purchase top of the line equipment to help make the program a success.
“This is an exciting program for the students in the district. We are fortunate to have a forward-thinking school board and superintendent that support this program and are dedicated to making it a success,” stated Posas.
Another addition to the district will be a state of the art welding and mechanical science facility that will be built next to the current ag building. The 35x60’ building will house five virtual welders and ten welding stations.
“The grant our district was awarded is a great thing,” explained Agriculture Science Instructor Richard Garcia, now in his 31st year as an educator, “our high school will be one of the first schools in the Rio Grande Valley to have virtual welders to train students.”
Virtual welding simulators help students develop confidence in their abilities and offer numerous benefits.
“It’s a training aid for students and uses no consumables. Once a student puts on a helmet the computerized program is very realistic. A student feels the tension just like real welding,” added Garcia.
The virtual welder program has multiple levels (ranging from easy to difficult) that students must complete before graduating to live welding. The program critiques a welder’s technique and can be set to host competitions among groups of students.
Along with virtual welders, the new facility will contain ten welding stations that can help students weld projects and eventually earn a welding or construction certificate.
“Students follow a pathway through our courses and will be eligible to get certified through the (AWS) American Welding Society and the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER),” said Garcia, “students can enter the program as freshmen and develop skills for their future in the workforce.”
The Texas Workforce Commission lists welding as of the top 10 professions in demand across the state.
Garcia has former students that work in Texas, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, and other places across the country.
“There are former Raymondville graduates earning a living using welding and construction skills they first acquired here,” said Garcia.
The RISD School Board supports students learning skills that have real-world applications.
“We, the Board of Trustees, want to help provide students with as many opportunities as possible and help them achieve success in and outside the classroom,” stated school board, President John Solis, “Students deserve to be self-sufficient and economically sustaining members of their community.”