Creating their own paths to success

Published 5:10 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In today’s economy, it is more important than ever to prepare students for their lives after high school graduation.

Shelby County Career and Technical Education is on the forefront of national efforts to adequately prepare the workforce of tomorrow.

Several years ago, a national effort was made to organize all careers into 16 Career Clusters to provide a framework for education.

The state of Alabama adopted the national clusters and implemented a new course of study this fall integrating them into Career and Technical courses. These changes have brought new and exciting opportunities for Shelby County students.

Along with the new curriculum, there is a strong emphasis on job shadowing and internship opportunities for students.

For example, at the Shelby County School of Technology, a third year student, Kristen Montgomery, is using the new senior project option to expand her research on autism. She will be placed in several facilities this year where she will have the opportunity to observe and work with autistic children.

This experience will enhance Kristen’s preparation for a pre-med college program and, eventually, medical school.

A new community partnership with the Alabama Council of Boy Scouts and Jefferson State Community College is providing high school juniors and seniors interested in the Culinary and Hospitality field opportunities to work with professional chefs and Jeff State instructors during a year–long exploration program.

Students meet at the culinary school monthly for hands on activities, professional presentations and field trips to area restaurants.

Career and Technical Education is not the old vocational training of yesteryear.

To prepare our students for life in the 21st century, Shelby County continues to look for new technologies, new partnerships, and new career experiences. It is an exciting time to be a Career and Technical Education student.

Rene Day is the coordinator for Career/Tech education for Shelby County Schools.