Pursuing excellence in education and teaching a curriculum that ensures a highly qualified workforce, the Fort Bend Independent School District is making strong investments in students and bright paths to future careers. In the fall of 2019, the district will open the James Reese Career and Technical Center, enrolling students in fields and specialties that are in high demand.

“In developing this center, we have been intentional in partnering with our local business and industry leaders to ensure we are providing students with opportunities, access to equipment and experiences that will equip them to join the workforce,” said Dr. Charles Dupre, the Fort Bend Independent School District superintendent of schools.

The center will offer a broad range of advanced training for juniors and seniors who can explore more than 15 areas of study, including medical sciences, HVAC, diesel mechanics, arts and video communications, cosmetology, culinary arts, education and training, information technology and manufacturing.

“Fort Bend Independent School District is excited about the opportunities that will be provided to students at the James Reese Career and Technical Center, including the five student-operated learning labs that will operate as businesses, open to serve the public while providing our students real-world experiences,” Dupre said.

The campus will serve students from all 11 Fort Bend Independent School District-comprehensive campuses. Labs will serve businesses too, building partnerships and community awareness of career opportunities and the career center’s important role in talent development and training. Hands-on experiences will provide deep insights into the processes of business, and real-time scenarios of a typical workplace. The five labs include a cosmetology studio, automotive shop, restaurant, credit union and early education center. Industry certifications and dual-credit courses will also be available.

The state-of-art facility is funded through the 2014 bond program, overwhelmingly approved by a supportive community of voters to improve the district’s growth, safety and security, and technology infrastructure. The bond included $59 million earmarked for career and technical education improvements. The 200,000-square-foot facility expands the space and resources available to the Fort Bend Independent School District and will serve as many as 2,000 high school students each day.

“The new career and technical center will serve as a place to teach students real life work skills that we believe will expose them to possible career choices and ultimately lead to them being successful in life,” said Jim Rice Fort Bend Independent School District board member.

The center was named in honor of James Reese, a former Fort Bend Independent School District math teacher who later served as the district’s first vocational director, as well as the district’s first distributive education teacher. Reese’s career in education spanned more than three decades, with 33 in Fort Bend Independent School District. He passed away in 2009.

The Fort Bend Independent School District serves nearly 76,000 students at 78 campuses. The student population is expected to grow to approximately 80,000 students by 2022 and 85,000 students by 2027. Throughout the district, improvements are underway to develop distinguished programs, address continuing growth and enhance learning for all students. n