Abilene High S.W.A.T. Shop is preparing students for tech careers

AISD tech program gets kids ready for future employment

ABILENE, Texas - There's more than one road that leads to employment and state lawmakers want to provide students with options.

The Texas House discussed a bill on Tuesday that focuses more on career and technical training for students who may not be interested in going to college.

Abilene High School's Tech S.W.A.T. Shop prepares kids for the future by providing a pathway for kids to get real world experience, and the credentials to go to work right after they graduate.

Abilene High students Christian Cheatham and Caleb Carter are friends and now co-managers of the Tech S.W.A.T. Shop. They are part of the Information Technology Program that they're helping take to the next level.

"We had this idea of being able to provide a professional service to people who normally might not be able to afford it or have access to it and really be able to give the students training that they normally wouldn't have otherwise," said Cheatham.

Now in it's first year, the S.W.A.T. shop is a full service business to the Abilene School District that helps students and staff. 
Information Technology Instructor Alicia Soto said, "A teacher will stop them and say you're with Tech S.W.A.T. Please come help me work on this thing."

"A person came to us and asked us could we fix their iPhone and we were like sure we can figure out as long as it doesn't have a warranty, we can work on it," said Carter. "We can replace the screen because we have a couple technicians that have worked on this before and we know how to do it."

The shop charges a small fee that gets reinvested into the program for tools and scholarships. For students the experience is enterprising and entrepreneurial.

Cheatham said, "We can take this program and develop it into our own kind of business and working situation."

Cheatham and Carter said their goal is to have a Tech S.W.A.T. Shop on every campus in the district.

The S.W.A.T. shop recently won the district entrepreneurship contest sponsored by SkillsUSA. They're headed to the state competition. The requirements to compete include presenting a business plan and demonstrating performance skills.

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