EL CENTRO, Calif. (KYMA, KECY)-Southwest High School student, Michael Zavala always wanted to make a difference in his community, but he didn't know where to start.
"We (have) probably the highest rate here in Imperial County with asthma. And just by creating a community change in our environment we can at least help the lives of people and their health."
Brandon Currin, the Career Specialist for the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program, said it's thanks to the Career and Technical Education Program (CTE) at Southwest High school, students like Michael are prepared to pursue their career interests.
"They feel like they don't have the opportunity. They feel like that's for someone else, not for me. Career Technology Education is here to bridge that gap. To show them that 'hey what you're interested in is within your reach. And you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.' And here are the resources," said Currin.
Zavala is now working with local environmental groups and doing his part to better the quality of life for residents.
Zavala added, "Help them analyze how students can bring this problem to the community level. And how we can get it to parents who may not understand all the science behind everything. That's basically how we can get engaged with those environmental specialists."
The CTE program provides students with pathways into careers in health science, agriculture, culinary arts, and animation among others. But none of that is possible without state funds.
Denise Cabanilla, the Director of Higher Education and Adult Learning said, "It really requires materials and training. And all of these other components. That really contributes to the student having that full experience. That's really going to prepare them properly for a post-secondary program or career."
School officials said they're planning to add more careers in the program soon.