Educators from various countries in Africa visited Eastlake High School last month to learn about the innovative career and technical education programs provided in the Socorro Independent School District.
The International Visitor Leadership Program of the U.S. Department of State invited the individuals to visit cities across the country and learn how vocational education provides Americans with training and skills tailored to fit targeted employment needs.
“As far as I know, we’re the only school district in El Paso that they had come to see,” said Career and Technical Education Director George Thomas. “I believe it shows we stand out as a school district, and I do know we are the best CTE program in the region if not the state.”
The African delegates who visited Team SISD are from Benin, South Sudan, Morocco, Cameroon, and Senegal. They also visited Washington D.C., San Diego, San Antonio, and Atlanta.
“They wanted to come to Texas because it is among the largest states in the U.S. and, specifically, because of the minority population here in El Paso,” said Araceli McCoy, executive director of the El Paso Council for International Visitors. “Since we are bilingual, they wanted to learn about the opportunities for the Hispanic population.”
Representatives from Region 19, El Paso Community College, UTEP and Workforce Solutions also participated in the visit at the Eastlake library.
“We have learned the importance of dialogue with the young people, said State Minister of Education in South Sudan Pia Yangu. “Young people may have ideas about the jobs they want to do, so it’s good to have those conversations with them to create more jobs.”
The SISD CTE department offers students opportunities in more than 40 career programs, 60 career clusters, and more than 6,000 industry certifications. Some 300 teachers at the middle school and high school levels teach CTE courses across the district.