How are Utah schools faring in the constantly changing world of modern education? This new world includes school violence, more pupils than most other states (we still have the largest households in the country), multicultural classrooms and very little money.

Meet Denis Hevner, Welding Tech at Highland High School.

Vocational ED gets a bad rap when it shouldn’t.

Denise Hevner first learned to helmet up while wielding a flame torch in high school. After graduation, she worked in fabrication shops for eight years. When a high school teaching opportunity presented itself, Hevner was able to earn her teachers’ license through the state’s ARL (Alternative Route to Licensure) program. Now she’s a welding teacher at Highland High School.

With a realization that there are as many hands-on learners in today’s society as academic ones, the CTE (Career Technical Education) program can assist by training students in areas of skilled performance work.

“Right now America is short by about 300,000 welders,” she states. By teaching students to use the tools of the trade as well as the soft skills needed to gain and maintain employment, Hevner shares, “I have had many students join the industry right out of high school and many more go on to college as well as trade schools.”

“All students need a place where they can feel successful,” Hevner explains.