Students gain valuable career preparation through DCPS academies

Students gain valuable career preparation through DCPS academies (ABC7)

The February 1 window is closing soon to apply to certain D.C. public high schools for the upcoming school year. ABC7 visited one of those application high schools to find out how it's preparing students for their future careers.

Inside a lab at McKinley Technology High School in Northeast students are gaining valuable skills.

Senior Deja Parker, 17, explained how she's benefiting from the school's Biotechnology Academy.

"DNA extraction which we've done today. Gel electrophoresis, pipetting is a big thing that we've learned," Parker said.

The students are counting on those kinds of experiences to help them eventually advance to careers that will offer good-paying jobs.

"All of the techniques that we've been taught in the lab here will apply to my future," Senior Osiris Muhamed shared.

The training comes through the D.C. Public Schools' National Foundation Career Academies. Starting in their sophomore year, McKinley students can focus on biotechnology, information technology or engineering.

McKinley College and Career Manager Torri Hayslett elaborated on what the program provides.

"The opportunity to have a national stamp for our students on their diplomas when they graduate, they're able to complete an internship before graduation, as well as get industry certifications," she stated.

The academies have been in place at McKinley since 2004 but the school recently began a concentrated push to have students engage in internships.

"I was interning at Sibley Memorial Hospital. I felt like it was a good experience although I was placed in Dietary Services," Muhammad offered.

Parker plans to attend college next fall where she will study to become a lab technician.

"Most schools don't offer this program and then to have a school that does offer it and does have the college preparatory stuff behind it kind of sets you up for success," she said.

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