HOUSTON – The Houston Independent School District has been preparing high school students for entry-level jobs in security services, corrections, law enforcement and forensics — in many cases, jump starting a career the students can enter right after graduation.
Since 2009, more than 500 students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Waltrip and Wisdom High Schools have pursued coursework to help them earn certifications as a security officer or jailer through training offered by the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). The courses are also recognized by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).
“We implemented the TEEX courses into our classroom curriculum, following state guidelines and student achievement goals,” said Dr. Carl Anthony Seales II, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Instructor at Wisdom High School. “TEEX has been a big help to getting students ready for jobs in security or corrections and offering them a career pathway.”
“For 10 years, I have been fighting to get marketable skills and certifications for my students, and TEEX has helped,” Dr. Seales said. Before becoming an educator, Dr. Seales was a police officer who attended law enforcement continuing education courses offered by TEEX.
He said Houston ISD has covered the student registration costs for the online courses. He facilitates the training in the classroom as students work to complete a 40-hour course over a two-week timeframe and take the end-of-course exam. These courses fit within the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), he added.
“Once the students complete the program, they can get hired right after high school,” Dr. Seales said. “They just have to take the state licensing exam in some cases. A number of students have entered careers in law enforcement or corrections or joined the military. These certifications show they will succeed because they are willing to take the initiative and work hard.”
More than 350 students at Waltrip and Wisdom High Schools have also completed TEEX online cybersecurity courses, which Dr. Seales offers for 9th and 10th graders. “It gives them a decent understanding of who’s watching you and what can happen if your personal information gets out. They are on their phones so much that it’s important for them to be aware of what they are doing and posting. The training provides a good basic knowledge that will help if they want to work in the telecommunications, IT or cybersecurity fields, for example.”
The online cybersecurity courses are DHS/FEMA-funded and offered at no cost to students through TEEX’s National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center as part of the Homeland Security National Training Program. The cybersecurity courses are eligible for college credit through the American Council on Education (ACE).
TEEX training is also offered as part of the curriculum at several other high schools in Texas, including A&M Consolidated High School in College Station, Bryan High School, the High School for Law and Justice in Houston, Carl Wunsche Sr. High School in Spring, Ellison High School in Killeen, and several more.
TEEX is also a Texas Education Agency (TEA)-approved provider, so Texas teachers can complete TEEX courses that align with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) and count the training hours as continuing education credit toward the renewal of their Texas Teacher’s Certificate.
The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) is an internationally recognized leader in the delivery of emergency response, homeland security and workforce training, exercises, technical assistance, and economic development. A member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX served more than 194,000 people from across the United States and 81 countries last year through hands-on training and technical services.