FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno's school district is encouraging a growing number of kids to start planning a career path before finishing high school, and the district is showing them how to do it.
One of the Valley's largest school districts is working to get more students on a career path in the next few years. It's all part of Fresno Unified's plan to prepare kids for college or career.
Edison High School was one of the first campuses in the Valley to create an engineering pathway for students. It started with just 40 kids, but quickly exploded to more than 160.
Teachers told ABC30 students who participate are more likely to graduate, be engaged in school and feel better prepared to take on real-world problems like working in teams and communicating with others.
On Wednesday hundreds of students in the Green Energy Biomedical and Engineering Pathways at Edison High School showed off their end-of-the-year projects as part of the 4th Annual Career Pathway Showcase. It's a program introducing students to the types of new technologies and resources that power our world.
Edison High Sophmore Jonathan Hamm is a member of the engineering academy and said that if the school didn't have a pathway he wouldn't understand or wouldn't know where to go. With the help of his teammates he was able to build a small-scale machine that sorts marbles based on their color.
One group even tackled one of the Central Valley's biggest problems right now, transporting water in a state plagued by drought.
Student Javier Lizarde's group built a machine that harnesses the power of the wind to move the water, making it cost efficient for the government and the county.
Real-world problems with real-life solutions learned through hands-on lessons right in the classroom.
"We barely have any dropouts because they're so into their projects," said Due Hoang the math, engineering and robotics instructor. "They stay here until 7 or 8 o'clock just to finish the showcase so it's amazing."
Next year Fresno Unified plans to expand the Engineering Pathway to at least one other campus and is working to bring others to other schools. The effort mirrors a statewide shift to cut down on the number of students who aren't prepared for college and to address an increasing "skills gap" in the state's workforce.