FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --It's back to school time for thousands of students in Fresno Unified.
It's one of the biggest districts in the valley that's going back, with more than 74,000 students returning to classrooms.
This is a big year for students at Duncan Polytechnical High School, especially since the career training foundation school now boasts two of the Fresno Unified School District's newest career pathways.
"We want to be able to meet the needs of education to match the need in our community workforce," principal Jeremy Ward said.
In addition to wanting to fill a void in the local economy, the newest courses will give students real-world training to broaden their skill set.
"So training the students not only does it make them a better graduate a better person," Ward said. "But it also gives them better opportunities."
Students will get to learn the basics of welding while getting hands on experience.
"I've done welding before and I thought I'd brush up on my skills," high school junior Corey Heyman said.
In this course, everyone starts out a beginner on the virtual welding station. Once they've perfected their technique, they'll move on to the real thing.
"It helps our work ethic and it also expands our knowledge of different things and how things work," Heyman said.
The other new pathway is the school's rehabilitation therapy program, covering occupational, speech and physical therapy.
"One of the things that made it appealing was it had that category of mysteriousness you know it was something new something unexplored," school senior Andres De La Torre said.
In addition to their course work, students will acquire job-site clinical hours.
"It's an outstanding opportunity there is a lot of support and a lot of backing from the community and throughout the CTE and ROP environment," instructor Derek Camilleri said.
Over the next few years, the plan is to add new specialties including an automotive pathway.