HCS names first Career Connection Center director

HOOVER – Ron Dodson will become the first director of Hoover City Schools’ new Riverchase Career Connection Center.

Dodson, who is serving as assistant superintendent, was approved as director of the center at a meeting of the Hoover City Council on Thursday, July 16, after a recommendation from Superintendent Kathy Murphy.

“He is so excited about the work we can do in our skills trade center,” Murphy said and added that Dodson wants to return to a position where he works with students on a daily basis.

The appointment is effective Oct. 1.

The Riverchase Career Connection Center is scheduled to open to students in fall 2019, after renovations are completed to a facility that was formerly Riverchase Middle School.

Though Murphy said Dodson’s work in the HCS administrative building, she told the Council that she would not immediately recommend a replacement.

Dodson will continue to assist Murphy with some responsibilities, and the superintendent said she wanted to take time to ensure the best candidate is found for Dodson’s former position.

The Riverchase Career Connection Center will focus on students interested in skilled labor careers, with culinary arts, health sciences, building construction, information technology, HVAC and electrical engineering course offerings.

School system officials have previously presented information that the share of the job market for those equipped with trade skills has grown from 20 percent in 1960 to 57 percent, but Hoover’s high schools were not built with occupational training in mind.

Students from HHS and Spain Park would attend the center for half-day shifts. The format would simulate a workplace, including the absence of bells and students being required to “call in” if they are unable to attend, instead of bringing a doctor’s note the next day.