What it’s Like to be in an EFE: The Surprising Truth

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Portage Central senior Rachel ball finished up our cookie and cupcake lab by frosting the cupcakes. “This class is very hands-on, I feel like we’re doing something new every day,” said Rachel. Photo Credit / Zach Skinner​

Education for Employment (EFE) programs provide unique experiences for high school students. The mission statement for EFE programs is ”It is our job to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s careers.”

According to their website EFE programs this by providing a jump-start on career and post-secondary education, training from teachers with real world experience who care about their students success, technical knowledge and skills for students to gain advanced places in apprenticeships, post secondary institutions or go directly into employment.

EFE classes also provide job training and free college credit to students which makes them a great option for any student. Every EFE is a vastly different experience because they are all tailored to different career paths. With 34 different programs to choose from, it seems like they cover almost every field.

“EFE’s give me more time to practice and it introduces me to new subjects and opportunities,” said Loy Norrix sophomore Anthony Chupp.

He says he took the Art and Design EFE because “I guess I just wanted an art class that was longer than normal.” People take EFE’s for any number of reasons. Some take EFE’s to immerse themselves in something they love, to learn more about the subject and better themselves. Some people just take EFE’s because they’re semi-interested in the subject or career path. It can be difficult to imagine what kind of experience you’ll get in these programs.

Some EFEs are made up of mostly Loy Norrix students so you feel pretty at home the first day. However, many EFE’s are hosted at other schools. These EFE’s are often comprised mostly of students from that school or district. When showing up to an off-site EFE for the first time, you can feel somewhat overwhelmed.

You step off the bus or out of your car, unsure of what’s to come. You wander around slowly, looking for your class and feeling lost the whole way. You walk in nervous because it’s your first day and you’re unsure of what’s to come. Sitting down in that chair in a foreign building surrounded by faces you don’t know can be intimidating. Soon enough you discover you all have things in common with the people around you and will start to make friends. You’re all there to study the same thing and before long, your class will start to feel like friends you’ve known forever.

EFE classes are much more student driven and interactive. They’re fast paced and many have in class hands on projects within the first week of school. The fast pace can make the classes hard, but they’re much more fun and interesting than normal classes.

“It’s a more hands on experience than regular classes, and I thought it would be more like a normal class,” said Loy Norrix senior Adrianna Mielke.

While EFEs are very hands on, they are also focused around the business component of any trade. In an EFE you won’t be learning skills just to use at home, you’ll be learning skills you can use in the industry. Having skills you can use confidently in a workplace setting are important, you must learn how to do your job as well as communicate with others to get everything done.

Many Student are very surprised when they first start an EFE. Senior Mitchell Mansfield said, “I thought EFE’s would be much more focused on the trade than the actual employment.” EFE’s teach you how to bring together safety, professionalism and a heavy workload and make them into a simple task that feels like second nature.

Loy Norrix Senior Josh Lipsey works with Automotive Technology TA Mike Lara to replace his struts. I feel like I’m actually learning something useful because we learn about things then actually do them,” says Lipsey. Photo Credit / Zach Skinner

I’ve taken multiple EFE’s myself and each one has been a great learning experience. My junior year I took Automotive Technology, which is held at Loy Norrix and consisted of all Loy Norrix students.  I believe I can use the things I learned in these EFE’s for the rest of my life. I have no interest in pursuing a career in the automotive field, but there are many basic skills that could be helpful as I move on to college and throughout life.

As a senior I decided the take Auto Tech again and take Culinary Arts as well. Auto Tech has been a pretty similar experience with the addition of a few kids from other schools, but Culinary Arts has been a lot more intense than I thought it would be. Meeting new people and learning things that go beyond what I thought we’d be doing has been a lot to take in. I have enjoyed every minute though. It kind of feels like a new adventure and I can tell that I will get lots out of Culinary skills I’m gaining.

Anyone thinking about taking an EFE should definitely look into it and try it. It’s a great experience that will teach you many skills and a place to make new friends. If you weren’t thinking about it before, stop by the guidance office or talk to some friends you know who have taken them.

EFEs aren’t scary, they’re fun and exciting. EFEs are like a new challenge and a way to see if you’re interested in a career path before college. I’m honestly not interested in pursuing careers in either of the EFEs I’m taking, but the skills I’m learning are worth having and the fun I’m having with my peers can’t be matched by any other class I’ve taken.


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