AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The state of Texas ranks 46th in public school attendance rates, that’s according to the National Education Association.

Some experts say the answer to these lagging school statistics could be found in vocational-technical schools.

“The model that the state uses is one week of academics, and alternating with one week of their shop,” said Chris Sinacola, Editor of the new book Hands On Achievement. “Whatever it happens to be those students are interested in.”

Sinacola’s book studies the work of vocational-tech schools in Massachusetts, a state that’s expanded vocational-tech school access to more students, and saw a dropout rate of under one percent.

“The advantage that these kids will have, especially the juniors and seniors, the approach to work, in a real job, for real money in their field in the community. They get that diploma, and the next week, they may be employed at the same business,” he explained.

The subject matter can vary.

“Automotive, cosmetology or computer aided design,” he noted.

Those are just a few examples of more than 40 industries represented at area vocational-tech schools.

Sinacola said skilled labor like plumbers, electricians, and HVAC are in high demand, and expanding access to these institutions could be beneficial to the student and the economy.

“The real advantage it confers is that ability to have a paying job when you get out, to have real skills that you can use,” he said.