NEXT University provides career opportunities for Wylie High School students

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Wylie ISD is now in its first year of partnership with NEXT University (NEXTU), a career development program created and funded by the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA). NEXTU has worked with Abilene ISD students since 2019 and now offers the same opportunities and resources to Wylie students.

Wylie student in welding class

“It’s different for them to see industries investing in them and recognizing, like, ‘oh my God, there’s life after this,’ and they want me to be a part of that,” said Reagan Berry, director by Wylie High.

By working with local industry leaders in avionics, electrical engineering, welding, manufacturing and information technology, NEXTU is able to provide local students with funding, equipment and resources to give them an edge in their chosen field.

“We’ve always been limited by public school funding,” Principal Berry said. “Going to the industry and saying, ‘this is what they’re using right now in the industry…This is the camera they’re using’, so our AV team needs a camera like that one.”

NEXTU identifies courses already offered at the school that match career paths students can pursue locally. Wylie NEXTU coordinator Lainey Alcorn told KTAB/KRBC that Wylie ISD currently focuses on electrical, applied agriculture and audiovisual programs.

Wylie students learn how the camera works

“We see the value in education, but now everyone is starting to see the value and what we can do and how we can help our industries,” Alcorn boasted.

Wylie High School juniors and seniors can apply for the program after completing two or more courses in their chosen field. They are then eligible to receive scholarships to continue their professional training, or even the equipment and resources necessary in this field to bring them up to industry standards.

“Not only the equipment and the grants to buy the equipment they use in the industry, but also the networking and contacts within the industry,” Principal Berry added.

Alcorn and Principal Berry said 100 apps have already been distributed and they are excited to see how their students are using this resource.

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