February 26, 2021
The PACE program is offered at Miller Career & Technology Center in the Katy Independent School District. It stands for Professional Advancement through Career Education. PACE is a competitive course for seniors only and has slowly gained popularity in the past few years even though it has been an elective course option since 1991. PACE students must have a GPA of 3.8 or higher in order to apply – in other words, the students are all high achievers. Katy ISD has 8 high schools now, and the PACE program draws the top students from across the district. Being accepted into the PACE program is like a reward for all the hard work the student has accomplished through high school because PACE provides an opportunity to experience a 17-week unpaid internship during the school year with a mentor in the industry of the student’s choice. In addition to the internship opportunity, the students learn important soft skills and professionalism in the workplace.
Last year was the first year for Zentech, Inc. to partner with PACE. The intern Amy Chen, a graduate of SLHS, diligently worked with the marketing department under the guidance of Lerna Arias. It was an ideal partnership as Amy learned about the nuances of marketing in the engineering oil and gas industry. When do high school students ever have this opportunity? Like all PACE students, she designed her own independent research project; Amy’s project focused on the marketing of Zentech’s services. She had a knowledgeable mentor who guided her in the right direction; she gained hands-on experience in a real workplace; she networked with people in the industry, and she earned honors credit with PACE.