Second chances mean a lot to Montecito (Calif.) High School advisor Nicholas Jordan. As a construction teacher for a continuation high school, Jordan knows that, for many of these students, a second chance is just what is needed.
“I see myself in my students and value my ability to relate to them,” Jordan says. “I was not scholastically inclined. I doubted my self-worth and failed to see opportunities based on my strengths.”
With his past in mind, Jordan does his best to provide his students with opportunities and experiences they might not otherwise be getting.
“Teaching in the skilled trades provides a medium for students to explore working with not only their minds but their hands,” he explains. “They take what they learn in the classroom and immediately see its purpose in solving a problem.”
Jordan was lucky enough to be exposed to career and technical education early, as both of his parents were educators. His father, Michael, was a SkillsUSA advisor.
“I grew up in my dad’s classroom and auto shop before he retired after 31 years teaching automotive and motorcycle service technology,” Jordan says. It was only natural, then, that Jordan would become a teacher himself. Once he did, his father was also instrumental in Jordan’s decision to become a SkillsUSA advisor. “He and his students reigned as California state champions for 20 years, from 1990-2009,” Jordan says. “Needless to say, I have some pretty big shoes to fill.”
Jordan seems well on his way to carving his own path. He’s formed community partnerships with local businesses and accompanied TeamWorks and Carpentry competitors to both state and national competitions.
However, the capstone of Jordan’s 2019 SkillsUSA experience happened not in June at the national conference in Louisville, Ky., but in May, right in Montecito, when his students participated in SkillsUSA’s National Signing Day. At this event celebrating skilled trades and the students who pursue them, four of Jordan’s students signed employment commitments with Swinerton Incorporated, a commercial construction company.
If the secret to happiness is loving what you do, Jordan seems to have a head start. He also seems to know the importance of the work he engages in every day. “Being a skilled trades teacher allows me to fight against the stigma that choosing a pathway in the construction industry is less worthy,” he says. “It’s incredibly rewarding knowing that I’m helping to develop America’s skilled workforce.”
On the Web
- Watch time-lapse footage of the TeamWorks competition:
- For information about SkillsUSA’s National Signing Day, visit: www.skillsusa.org/events-training/national-signing-day/