Reigniting a passion for learning
At Boulder TEC you may be surprised by what you see.
The program, located in east Boulder doesn’t have typical classrooms. Instead students experience environments that are more like what they will see once they leave school – an auto repair shop, a beauty salon, a construction site, a crime scene, and even a morgue – with a synthetic cadaver.
It looks like being out in the real world, and that’s intentional.
“Every program, every teacher is required to be at industry standards. Teachers are constantly being trained on the latest and greatest. And as they’re doing that they are changing their curriculum and modernizing what they’re offering. So when students leave they are at the same level as the professionals in the field,” said Boulder TEC Principal Arlie Huffman.
Boulder TEC has a wide variety of programs that can give each student the opportunity to find something they love and gain the skills needed for the path they want to choose. Students can start taking classes at Boulder TEC in their junior year, but should start discussing with their counselors earlier.
Get a look inside Boulder TEC with these videos:
“One thing you see when you go into a kindergarten classroom is that kids are so excited to learn everything. It is all cool, all fun, they want more and more. By the time students get to 9th grade, that's usually gone,” Huffman explained. “Here at Boulder TEC, we are enabling students to spend every day doing something they really love, and hopefully we can reignite students' love of learning.”
Each Boulder TEC program is built to be a hands-on learning experience, where students learn by doing – whether it's repairing a car, working on a construction site, practicing spa or hair treatments on each other or collecting DNA.
Many students love this method of learning rather than traditional learning.
“I like the hands-on learning of the EMR (Emergency Medical Responder) and Sports Medicine Programs, says current student, Lena. “ That's the best part for me, as it's how I learn best.”
Besides just igniting a passion for learning, students gain an immense leg up in their career and college path by taking classes at Boulder TEC. Classes and programs can allow students to earn college credits, work towards a license or certification upon completion of requirements, and complete classes that fulfill their graduation requirements.
Current students at Boulder TEC fit all of these different pathways. Macey, a current Esthetics student, is excited to finish up the program and use her hours to earn her license, which will allow her to jump right into working in the field.
“What I love about it is the opportunity. I had no idea about this until my senior year. Everyone asks me about college. This makes me feel like I can do something else productive too,” says Macey. “Many people think you come here and you can’t go to college which is not true. If you have one of these skills, you can work through college and make money or have something to fall back on.”
VIDEO: Boulder TEC - Salon
Others look to build on what they are learning at Boulder TEC and continue their education in these fields. Samantha, a current Biomedical student, is looking to go into a career in the medical field.
“I never thought I could have this opportunity. There's a synthetic cadaver in our classroom,” says Samantha. “You can’t find that anywhere else until you go to college. I find it amazing that I get to have this experience now in my life.”
VIDEO: Boulder TEC - College Bound
In the rapidly changing world, it is important that students learn the skills they need to adapt to change. But likewise, programs need to keep up the pace as well and keep up with the demands of the economy. Starting next year, Boulder TEC is offering two new programs- computer science and nurse assistant- in response to ongoing conversations with area businesses and the Boulder Chamber of Commerce about the demand for workers in these industries.
Huffman is not ready to stop there. He is excited about working to create career pathways for all students.
“We want students to understand that just learning the skills are not enough, but to really succeed and grow you need to continue to learn,” Huffman said. “Igniting curiosity again- that's the big idea.”
Learn more about Boulder TEC at bouldertec.org
VIDEO: Boulder TEC - Construction Trades
VIDEO: Boulder TEC - Early Childhood Education
VIDEO: Boulder TEC - Welding