|Business/education leaders meet to strategies for career-oriented education|
|Written by News Desk|
|Wednesday, 11 September 2013 11:07|
By BRIAN HODGE
Several months ago a partnership began between the Elmore County Board of Education (ECBOE), Alabama Industrial Development Training (AIDT), Elmore County Extension Service, local businesses and Chambers of Commerce to develop a well-defined school to work trajectory between high schools and the business community. The Workforce Development Committee was formed. Last week the group held a special Workforce Development for Youth Summit Luncheon. Jeff Langham, Superintendent of Elmore County Schools welcomed committee members to the luncheon and gave a report on the group's work so far.
"Our task is to strengthen the linkage between career preparation in our schools and the real world workforce needs and demands that are ready and waiting in our local communities," Langham said.
Over the last few months members of the committee have visited communities statewide where, Langham says, business and the schoolhouse have created vibrant links. Sites from Birmingham to Ozark to Montgomery to Talladega were visited. Langham said that the committee is interested in the "career academy" approach.
"We are interested in the Career Academy approach—culinary, technology, performing and visual arts, STEM (science/technology/engineering/mathematics), etc," Langham said.
"What is a career academy? A career academy is a small learning community that has a career theme, shows students links between their academic subjects and this theme, and involves employers and higher education institutions in preparing students for college and a career. A career academy usually operates in grades 9-12 or 10-12, and includes two or three academic subjects each year along with one career related one. The latter is usually a "Career-Technical Education" (CTE) course. One consistent thread throughout these academies clearly is the active involvement and engagement of the business community," Langham explained.
He added that many career fields could be used as a focus for a career academy. With popular examples including: Health Services, Media & Communications and Business, Finance & Marketing, Hospitality Services, and STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
During lunch, each of our four high school principals are going to offer a few remarks of some "baby steps" that they are taking to bring the Career Academy concept to life on their campuses.
Langham said, during the conversation, AIDT's Heather Holliday presented data that shows the Elmore County school district is on the right track in career preparation. Furthermore, she stated that the data demonstrates that the percentages of college bound students needing remediation are much lower in our school district than in many comparable districts throughout the state.
"It is gratifying to see from the business and industry side of the table that we are doing many things right here in the Elmore County School System in preparing our students to meet real world demands. But we do not rest on our laurels as we realize that there is much work still to be done. We will all benefit when we have a well-defined school to work trajectory for our students and a clearly articulated relationship with our business community," Langham said.
The next meeting to continue this discussion has been tentatively set for Wednesday, October 2 at the Elmore County Board of Education Central Office.
Business partners with representatives at the meeting included: HR Management Solutions, First Community Bank, Community Hospital –Tallassee, Alabama Power Co, PCI Gaming, Alabama Homebuilders Association, and Information Transport Solutions
Photo: Gene Jones was honored with a wooden bust likeness of himself by Dr. John Van Valkenberg. The bust was carved from red cedar.
Photo: Brian HodgeRead more...
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