High school students at any GISD campus can take advanced career courses to become eligible to be a firefighter after graduation because of that partnership. The programming takes place at the Gilbreath-Reed Career and Technical Center (GRCTC). Students from all seven GISD high schools in Garland, Rowlett and Sachse can attend two class periods every other day at the GRCTC campus where they are immersed in a “business-like” atmosphere and work on real world projects. The rest of the school day is spent at their home campus. The programs can even count for dual credit through the Dallas County Community College District.
Garland Fire Department Chief Mark Lee said, “Opportunities like this give our youth a solid chance at well-paying jobs right here in Garland. We want the next generation to raise their families here, too. GISD is helping raise homegrown firefighters.”
The firefighter program is a three-year commitment. Students in grades 10 through 12 study, test and practice at GRCTC as well as at the actual Garland Fire Department facilities. After three years in the program, students test with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, as well as register as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) to receive a certificate as an actual Firefighter/EMT able to work anywhere in the state of Texas.
Industry experts teach these classes, and firefighting is only one of many. The City of Garland also is launching a veterinary technician program with GISD, which will allow veterinarians to perform surgeries on campus that students will be able to observe. Students also will provide after-care for the animals. GISD is preparing to offer adult education classes at night, as well.
Everything from culinary skills to CPR to mechanics or taxes will be available in the future, according to GRCTC’s principal, Dr. Erika Crump. Dr. Crump is best known for her cheerful smile and warm greetings to everyone on campus. She describes her administration’s jobs as “Directors of WOW!”
“We want learning to be exciting and fun. Our customer, the kids, love coming here. What higher testimony can you ask?”Dr. Crump sees her roleas preparing students to be college, career, military and life ready. With theavailability of 90 career study tracks at the GRCTC, that really is a “WOW!”