COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — When Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds visited Thomas Jefferson High School Thursday afternoon, she got a first-hand look at the next big thing in the classroom.
It's the TradeWorks Academy, which could come to more Iowa schools.
"The different modules students have is an advantage to see where their interest is at," Governor Reynolds said.
Students can build their skills in a variety of fields like mechanics. Two students inside the TradeWorks Academy classroom were seen changing a tire on a car, not what you usually spend time doing in class. But that's the point.
About 300 students have already signed up for the program's full launch next fall.
"When you start a new program, you never know what kind of interest you'll have," Governor Reynolds said.
Thomas Jefferson is one of two Iowa high schools with this program. This could be the future of trade work education. More than half of current skilled trade workers are over the age of 45, so there's a shortage when it comes to the next generation.
"It's a great way to keep our young people in Iowa," Governor Reynolds said. "To give them a great career, to see the economy grow--it's a win-win and I believe this is what the future of education should look like."
Between carpentry, construction, and electrical systems, students can pick and choose based on what they're interested in. The point is to get their hands and their brain engaged. Students can work their way to earning a college-level certificate, diploma or degree hopefully upon graduation.
Governor Reynolds walked away impressed after touring the facility.
"It's not about starting new programs, it's about identifying programs like this that are working and successful and scaling it to other school districts across the state."