CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - Chase Reed is a junior at Barbe High School in Lake Charles, but every week he spends time at the College Street Vocational School.
"I'm going to the army but I'm taking auto tech in case I need something to fall back on" Reed said. "I just really like working on cars and trucks and stuff and it's just something that interests me".
In his auto tech curriculum, which is transferable to any tech school in the state, he learns the ins and outs of auto mechanics- taking apart and fixing anything with an engine.
"He teaches us how to work with paint work on cars... it'll help me if I want to get an apprentice job at a garage or go to Sowela and get certified as an auto technician" Reed said.
It's one of the many courses of study open to Calcasieu Parish public high school students and as career coach Lorna Albers says, it's one of the best ways to start preparing the future workforce.
"Many jobs won't require four year degrees for these high paying, high demanding jobs, so if we can get them interested and get a head start while they're in high school, it can give them a head start on their career" Albers said.
What's going on at college street vocational school is more than hands on learning, but real life coaching and advising from potential future employers. Like Greg Dellinger of AAR Corporation.
"We'll be looking for those freshly minted mechanics, so we feel though by going into secondary schools, high schools, it really meets teenagers and young people where they are and it gives them a heightened sense of what it is that's out there" said Dellinger.
A benefit with endless possibilities and plenty of blue skies.
"To have guest speakers come in and talk to our students about what's available out in the real world makes the connection... They're connecting their high school lives, their high school graduation plans with what is going to happen in their careers" Albers said.