Welding, horticulture, 3-D metal art.
Those kinds of career and technical education classes keep kids in school and prepare them for life after graduation.
And one local school district just invested about $5 million in them.
The Finley School District on Wednesday celebrated the debut of its newly upgraded Career and Technical Education Center. The project was paid for with a $3 million state grant, money from a 2017 bond and more than $100,000 raised by the community.
"This facility is going to educate kids in our area for a very long period of time," said Bryan Long, director of human resources and student learning. "It's going to be a very positive thing for our future."
The center houses the district's popular CTE courses. About half of Finley's 320 high school students take at least one of the classes.
CTE classes are proven effective in keeping kids engaged — reducing dropout rates and increasing on-time graduation rates.
In a community like Finley, they're particularly valuable.
"There's a lot of industry out here that utilizes the skill set they learn (in the center), from how to weld to how to grow a plant. The future employment of our kids — a lot of it comes from this facility," Long told the Herald.
Chris Davis, principal of Finley's River View High School, added that, "Our kids leave here and go into apprenticeships. They're marketable right out of high school. Some head off to colleges that follow ag-tech, ag-business type areas as well."
Finley's students go onto vocational training, college and directly into the workforce at about equal rates, officials said.
The CTE center's overhaul has been in the works for a few years.
It included upgraded equipment, updated classrooms and refurbished greenhouses.
The changes have added a lot, said Kylee Gier, a junior, who takes animal science and horticulture classes in the facility.
She's thinking of becoming an agriculture teacher after graduation, inspired by her CTE courses.
"The classes give you experience that others don't get," she said. "It makes you think differently about things."