SOT Career tech advisory meeting prepares students, businesses for the future

Cooks in fluffy white chef hats serving Italian chicken and strawberry pound cake doesn’t sound like a normal scene for a committee meeting, but that’s exactly what happened at the Shelby County School of Technology’s career tech advisory meeting today in the school’s library.

Students in the culinary program at SOT prepared and served a hot lunch to the committee’s 18 members as the group watched presentations from students.

“Each of the committee members are business people who help support the school whether it’s monetary or not,” said Morgan Pope, the culinary arts teacher.

The committee is an important part of keeping the school up-to-date with current business practices in fields such as health care, business management, cosmetology and others. Members work with career tech administration to make sure the students are well-prepared for jobs in their chosen fields.

“The meetings are also important to the committee because it gives them a chance to meet the workforce of the future,” said Rene Day, the career technical supervisor.

Students gave the committee members a tour of the school before lunch, and students in the health science program entertained the group with presentations during lunch of what they did during their clinicals.

“The majority of our (health sciences) students do clinicals at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, who has graciously sponsored our event today,” Day said.

Although Shelby Baptist paid for the food, the culinary students used it to prepare a gourmet meal in their on-site kitchen. In addition to Italian baked chicken, wild rice, vegetables and sweet tea, the committee enjoyed home-made pound cake with fresh strawberries, whipped cream and powdered sugar.

After dessert, the committee watched a video that gave a peek into SOT.

The school is about 35 years old and has constantly expanded as the need for new programs grew. Students from any Shelby County school in grades 10-12 can attend SOT. The school’s mission is to “develop work ethics, career and technical skills and acquire academic knowledge, enabling students to become life-long learners.”

Day said the committee is a major part of that mission.

“The committee’s input is so important,” Day said. “The only way we can be successful is to talk to people already into the profession.”