‘They embrace the crazy here’: Bay High students learning specialty skills for a changing job market

In the world of work nowadays there’s a much greater need for tech-based skills.
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 7:52 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - In the world of work nowadays there’s a much greater need for tech-based skills.

This school year Lincoln Public Schools and a local nonprofit have teamed up to give students a more modern venue for that kind of learning.

Bay High is one of about 20 LPS focus programs. In this case, that focus is on content creation and emerging media, something students said they’re eager to pursue in a more digital age.

In short, it’s a focus program for self-proclaimed misfits.

“I don’t have to worry about the teachers thinking that one of my ideas is crazy because they embrace the crazy here,” said Eamella Tithin, a senior.

Bay High is working to be a place where students can learn skills that will hopefully make them the right fit for a future career.

“The Bay is setting you up for a career path,” said Gianna Morris, a senior. “Setting up your own business, learning to advertise, learning to code. Learning all these things that you actually use in the future.”

In its first year, about 100 students go to Bay High. Juniors and seniors split their school day between the Bay on Y Street, and their traditional, or home, high school.

Bay High’s curriculum is based on content creation and new media.

“Design and digital asset creation, videography, photography, coding, and development, and podcasting and digital storytelling,” said Ethan Carlson, a business teacher.

The Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development said these specialized, often tech-driven jobs are gaining popularity in the city and the state.

“Businesses traditionally have realized that that’s really the space that they really need to take over in order to remain relevant,” said Kaylie Hogan-Schnittker, the Director of Talent Strategy.

Bay High is also partnering with multiple businesses in Lincoln. Those companies send representatives to the school to teach lessons and prepare kids for the job search.

On Monday, Swanson-Russell, a Nebraska-based communications firm, was working with students on pitch ideas for advertisements and promotions involving their client Runza.

Teachers said if the firm likes a student-led pitch enough it could be made into something that will be made a reality for the company.

“They really give you an insight on what people in professional positions look for, and what you can do to make yourself look more marketable to those businesses,” said Talon Blizek, a senior.

Class sizes are also small enough that they can travel outside of the classroom to partner businesses and creative spaces around Lincoln to get a first-hand look at the work being done.