When teachers and students return to school in August, computers throughout the District will be working properly and efficiently thanks a to small group of unsung heroes.
These summertime warriors are traveling throughout EPISD schools to troubleshoot, image and update computers and laptops so that all technology is geared up and ready for the start of the 2018-19 academic year.
And while these tech wizards are experienced and well trained, they are all still EPISD high-school students participating in CCTE’s work-based learning program.
“These guys are hard working and know what they’re doing,” said Travis Hamilton, a telecommunications and networking teacher at CCTE. “The work that they’re doing over the summer is helping EPISD be ready to get started come the first day of school. Without them, this task would be very difficult.”
The work-based learning program gives students the opportunity to be hired by the District as actual technicians. The students will work on more than 4,000 computers in all of EPISD’s high school and middle school computer labs this summer. During the school year, the students work from 4 to 8 p.m., working on computers remotely from CCTE or in person.
“In the classroom, there’s limited hands-on experience. They can practice taking apart a computer a number of times, but when they get out they see the different kinds of problems that they may run into,” Hamilton said. “It really gives them that extra experience of what to expect in the field, and they can put it on their resume.”
Coronado student Brady Patrick serves as the program’s senior team leader, making sure everything runs smoothly at each location.
“Our first year we are trained to identify hardware issues, so we can take a computer that has a physical malfunction and figure out what part is having the issue,” he said. “In our second year, we learn about networking issues and how to troubleshoot those.”
Students image each computer and work with teachers to ensure the labs are ready to go when classes start in August.
“Later on this summer we are going to have the teachers tell us what software they really need, so we can go ahead and install those,” he said.
Patrick appreciates the knowledge and skills he has built, which he thinks will help him land a well-paying job while he attends college.
“The CompTIA A+, which is the certification we are training to receive, is comparable to six months experience,” he said. “So, if you start as a junior, you come out with two years of IT experience, which really gets your foot in the door in a lot of places right out of high school.”
Incoming senior Dawson Dominguez is starting his second year in the CTE program.
“I absolutely love this program. I have learned so much from when I first started,” he said.
He plans on pursuing a career in cyber security when he graduates.
“This next year we are doing Cisco and network security, which will help me with my goals,” Dominguez said. “It’s going to help me learn commands and how to fix things. I would recommend this program. You may go in thinking you know a lot about computers, but you will learn so much more than you thought you knew. It’s absolutely amazing.”