Career tech education celebrated

Published 8:41 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

It’s Career and Technical Education Month and the Dallas County Career Technical Center has had a full calendar of activities to celebrate.

The month started Probate Judge Kim Ballard signing a proclamation declaring February as Career and Technical Education Month in Dallas County. It will continue with a career fair Friday at Southside High School.

“Our students leave us ready for the workforce,” said Jerolene Williams, director of the Career Tech Center. “The state helps us with getting our students prepared by helping us get grants for credentialing in whatever the course is they are taking.”

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Williams said the nursing students that finish the program at the career tech center get CNA credentials, automotive programs get NATEF certification and welding students are NCCRE certified.

Williams said many people in the community have been surprised about all the Dallas County Career Technical Center has to offer as they have provided information throughout the month. Among the courses offered are collision repair, automotive services, health science, welding and industrial maintenance.

“This is what everybody is doing now, career tech,” Williams said. “Kids going to school getting a four-year degree, going for four years as compared to two years. They go through our program or go to a junior college, they get certification, a degree they can put on their wall and they go and make as much money as the average college graduate.”

The Dallas County Career Technical Center has between 165-170 students, Williams said.

Students went on a field trip to the Capitol in Montgomery last week and met with Gov. Robert Bentley and members of the State Board of Education.

On Wednesday, they went on a field trip to the Welding Resource Center in Tuscaloosa where they learned about all different types of welding.

“Right now and healthcare and welding are the two most sought after occupations and we prepare students for both of us,” Williams said.

In the future, the career tech center will start an assimilated work place style of teaching, where students will actually clock in and out, have an employee handbook and will act as if they are on an actual job. Each skill will be named like a business, so that students feel like they’re going to work.

“We are teaching them to be prompt, if they are absent they have to give an excuse, we are teaching them to be cordial, teaching them to work and how to keep a work area clean,” Williams.

“We’ve been trained how to do this assimilated workplace and we are doing it in all our shops.”

Williams said workers will also be required to interview and pass a drug test, so that students can get used to what it’ll be like in the real world.

“The same things that industries require, we are going to require at the career tech center, simply because when we turn in our students we want them to know what to expect when they enter the workforce.”

Friday’s career fair will include local businesses and will give students a chance to learn about different jobs and how to get them.

“We have colleges and universities, industries, businesses, people in the community — we have a lot of people to come and students and parents,” Williams said. “Students and parents have a chance to sit down on a one-on-one basis and find out all the questions they need answered.”