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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
540-483-5113
Fax: 540-483-8013

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CTE program prepares students for work
Graduates ready for high-demand occupations
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Staff Photo by Stacey Hairston: This student in Franklin County High School’s CTE program learned to run the control room during a recent ball game. Many CTE students are career-ready and certified upon graduation.

Friday, February 7, 2014

By STACEY HAIRSTON - Staff Writer

The West Campus is alive with the sounds of drills, saws, hammers and even agricultural animals, all operated and handled by students in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) program at Franklin County High School.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has recognized February as CTE month, and West Campus Principal Robbie Dooley said FCHS is determined to make sure every student is prepared to succeed in high-demand occupations within the 21st century's competitive global economy.

CTE students are learning trades important to the business community. By the time many of these students graduate, they will already be workforce-ready.

"For a kid that's motivated, they can start making a decent living straight out of high school," said Dooley. "They can be ready to hit the workforce and really contribute to society and the business community."

The CTE program offers the highest level of education available and partners with local businesses, industries and the community, Dooley said.

"Students participating in CTE programs of study master rigorous academic and relevant technical concepts that encourage students to make the effort to succeed," he said. "It enhances district-wide partnerships between business and education in order to attract and retain targeted, high-value industries."

Employers are reporting a need for employees that have, not only technical skills, but general workplace skills as well. FCHS is now testing students on this skill with a workplace readiness exam.

"Our CTE program is also placing emphasis on workplace readiness skills," said Dooley. "Students are learning general people skills and the ethical side of being a professional. They are picking up employability skills, such as self reliance, that are essential in any career area."

Workforce data from Western Virginia indicates that there are job opportunities for students graduating with a CTE background.

During a recent presentation to members of the Franklin County School Board, Dooley listed 175 area job openings with 93 of them being in the healthcare industry. The second highest number of openings were located in the manufacturing industry.

"Many of our programs offer students the chance to earn the certifications and licenses related to a specific career pathway," said Dooley.

Some of the courses in automotive, healthcare, nursing, horticulture, childcare and computers offer certifications and licenses.

Students enrolled in auto service and collision repair classes can earn an automotive service excellence (ASE) certification.

"If two applicants apply for a job at an auto repair shop, the one who is ASE certified will probably be the one getting the job," said Dooley.

Students with education in horticulture can receive their pesticide application license. Those in office administration classes can earn their Microsoft Office certification.

Some students graduate Franklin County High School as certified nursing assistant,s and some leave high school with their OSHA 10 certifications.

Those completing classes in early childhood, masonry and building trades can take and pass a National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI) Exam.

Dooley sites spacing concerns as the main hindrance to the CTE program at the high school.

"FCHS offers many different CTE programs; however, enrollment data shows that many more students request CTE classes than there are available teachers and facilities," Dooley explained. "Our automotive students sometimes have to move their vehicles and equipment into the cold parking lot to work because their is no room inside the facility."

According to enrollment date, 279 students requested enrollment in the Health Assistant I and II classes, but only 94 slots exist.

There were 236 students requesting enrollment in Early Childhood Education, but only 95 students could be accommodated.

Ag Mechanics saw 402 interested students with 180 being enrolled.

A total of 247 students wanted to take TV Production I, II and III, but 153 of those students were turned down.

"Knowing what a great program we have, a Roanoke TV station approached us about a possible project for next fall," said Dooley. "Our TV Production students would record a football game every Friday night for 12 weeks. The students will produce, edit and then own it."

The one CTE class that is required of all high school students is Economics and Personal Finance.

"According to our data, we can only enroll 464 students in that class at a time, even though it is required for a diploma."

Despite the space crunch, Dooley said 99.9 percent of CTE completers graduated in 2012-2013 with over half of them receiving a license or certification while in high school.

"Those graduates say they are happy with the level of education they received in their CTE classes at FCHS, with two-thirds of them saying they use the CTE skills learned in high school on their current jobs," said Dooley.

Several months ago, the Franklin County School Board approved four new year-long CTE courses for the 2014-2015 school year. They include Floral Design I, Welding I, Radio Communications I and Forensic Technology.

Students who complete Welding I will earn their OSHA 10 card. Those completing Radio Communications I will have the opportunity to earn a radiotelephone operator's license. Floral Design I students will also participate in leadership activities and Future Farmers of America (FFA) events.

"CTE is at the forefront of preparing students to be college-and career-ready," said Dooley. "CTE equips students with core academic skills and the ability to apply those skills to concrete individual responsibility, not only in the workplace, but in their routine daily activities."

 
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