Ashley Rives knew she wanted her education to include hands-on classes. When selecting her pathway in Duncanville High School’s Career and Technical Education program, she narrowed down her options by ruling out what she didn’t want to do first.
“I just didn’t want to be in nursing or culinary or any other stuff. It didn’t stand out to me,” Ashley said. “I wanted to do something different, so I decided to go with Auto Tech.”
Automotive Technology falls under the district’s Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) program where students can choose a career pathway and take courses that provide the academic, technical and workplace skills that are attractive to employers.
In her Auto Tech class, Ashley learned the basics on repairing cars, but she still craved something with a little more creativity. So she switched to Collision Repair and Refinishing. The four-year program trains students how to repair, refinish and paint cars that have been in collisions.
“The moment I walked in I loved it,” Ashley said. The projects were on the wall, and it was so beautiful -all the colors.”
The hood Ashley painted in her junior year qualified for the state SKILLs USA competition. She holds a certification from the Sherwin-Williams paint company and used their products and special glitter to create her masterpiece.
“The finished product is my favorite part because you get to look back at everything and you just feel accomplished and proud,” Ashley said.
Ashley noticed there weren’t a lot of girls in her automotive classes, but she was intentional about taking the courses seriously for herself and to encourage other young women to get involved.
Now in her senior year, Ashley is working at an automotive powder-coating business in Grand Prairie. She gets to use the
skills she learned in her high school classes to earn money and receive industry experience.
After graduation, Ashley plans to go to trade school and pursue an associate degree in college so she has all her options open when it’s time to decide on a career.
Like other students who opt to take dual credit and certification-driven courses in the Career and Technical Education program at Duncanville High School, Ashley has the potential to make a living wage starting out in the automotive field. Other P-TECH pathways include Architectural Design and Education and Training - which gives students a head start on becoming an educator.
In addition to the P-TECH offerings, Duncanville High School offers courses in Engineering and Cybersecurity that fall under the Texas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (T-STEM) pathway. The program offers dual credit courses at no costs to students, prepares students for college and guides them into high-demand, high-wage careers.
Students who complete programs in Duncanville High School’s P-TECH and T-STEM pathways can earn between $45,000 and $61,000 after graduation.