Students Preview Professional Trades At NIC

COEUR D’ALENE — With the economy in retreat many high school students may be nervous about graduating this spring. North Idaho College however is trying to make the transition a little easier.

Almost 500 high school students toured NIC’s professional and technical programs Thursday afternoon with the idea of giving them hope for their future’s beyond high school.

As college students work on their assignment, high school students stood nearby observing and trying to figure out what they’ll do when they graduate.

“I just find it interesting to uh see how things work and just internal combustion in general is pretty sweet,” Jacob Johnson, a Lake City High School sophomore, said.

With the economy the way it is right now Johnson is doing as much research as he can before he graduates.

“It’s kind of depressing to see the economy going down the chute but if there’s any way we can affect it that would be nice,” he said.

Another student, 17-year-old Molly Helland, observed the culinary arts classes during her visit to NIC. Helland graduates this spring and hopes the economy improves by then.

“It’s pretty sad how it is right now I don’t know what could give it a turnaround,” she said.

Judy Hodge, the Dean of Professional, Technical and Workforce Education says applications are the highest they’ve ever been for this time of year and enrollment is up five percent.

“People with skills are going to be the first to find jobs I believe,” she said.

While the economic crisis can be discouraging, Jacob Johnson is finding some personal inspiration in it.

“I think it would definitely inspire me to try harder so just help me get out there into the workforce a little bit better and definitely get me on the right path,” he said.

While it’s exciting for enrollment to be up at NIC the next year is going to be a challenge.

The professional and technical programs will see a six to eight percent budget decrease which will require the college to do more with less.