The world is preparing for a new industrial revolution with artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, augmented and virtual reality and more.
To meet the workforce needs of the future, schools need to do more than teach reading, writing and arithmetic. They must teach students skills that are actually in demand in the workplace today.
That’s what a new kind of high school in San Antonio is aiming to do.
Centers for Applied Science and Technology, known as CAST Tech High School in downtown San Antonio will focus on technology and entrepreneurship.
And the new school got a big boost on Tuesday when Tech Bloc and the 80/20 Foundation announced the launch of the TechBloc-4-TechEd Foundation, which is being supported through the San Antonio Area Foundation. Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation gave a $600,000 grant to kick off the new foundation’s capital fundraising campaign to support the construction and development of CAST Tech. It will welcome its inaugural class of 150 ninth graders next fall.
H-E-B and its Chairman Charles Butt has also given $3.6 million to build the school.
Weston’s grant is a challenge grant which Tech Bloc will be seeking a dollar-for-dollar match. Tech Bloc has created “$10-4-Tech,” public crowd-funding campaign to encourage everyone to support CAST Tech.
Individuals who give $100 or more will be honored on a digital “Friends of CAST Tech” installation planned for the high school.
“Access to talent is still our greatest challenge across the tech industry,” David Heard, Tech Bloc Co-Founder and CEO said in a news release. “One of our best opportunities is to grow our own, especially inside our historically underserved populations, and keep it here. This high school can be part of that solution, and its location inside our downtown tech district is key to connecting kids from our urban core to entrepreneurial opportunities beyond the classroom.”
CAST Tech will be operated as an SAISD in-district charter school and will be located in two vacant buildings at Fox Tech High School’s campus in the 600 block of North Flores Street.
“I see CAST Tech as being a tech immersion experience for high school students, with its focused curriculum, continued workplace exposure, and built-in student support from industry professionals, all of which will ensure our students are well prepared for the tech-sector jobs that await them,” Pedro Martinez, SAISD Superintendent, said in a news statement.
H-E-B, SAISD and Tech Bloc announced the creation of CAST Tech at the Tech Bloc Summer Rally last July.
CAST Tech plans to offer students college coursework, internships, job shadowing and other opportunities to prepare them for jobs upon graduation. Students can earn up to 30 hours of college coursework and graduate with an associate’s degree along with their high school diploma.