February proclaimed Career Tech Month

Published 9:36 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

Following Dallas County Probate Judge Kim Ballard signing a proclamation naming February Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, members of the Dallas County Career Technical Center are aiming at getting youth headed in the right direction.

Jerolene Williams, head of the Dallas County Career Technical Center and administrator for the county’s Career Technical Education program, has 12 special events planned for participants in recognition of CTE month.

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These events, according to Williams, are for everyone “to see the level of skills students gain here and how we’re preparing young people to be productive career professionals and community leaders.”

Special activities throughout February available for Dallas County schools include open house, job shadowing and industry presentations, among others.

Williams’ motivation for the education of career technical education is to make sure children in Dallas County are aware of all the avenues they have available to them. Being in charge of the Dallas County Career Technical Education Center, she attempts to make all her participants employable. She wants to take what she does in the center and present it as an opportunity for people in the community for an entire month.

Classes offered by the center include, but are not limited to welding, industrial maintenance, automotive services and financial management.

“Kids can graduate high school and go right into the workforce with this program,” Williams said. “We aim for a person to be career-ready after leaving here. We focus on learning then earning.”

While the focus of the CTE month and the Career Tech Center is to prepare students to be ready for the workforce, they also provide opportunities to attend post-secondary schools. The Lincoln College of Technology in Nashville consistently takes in automotive service students from the career tech center in Dallas County.

According to teachers at the career technical center, these programs provide Dallas County youth with more cities to live in and more jobs to be qualified for. Kenneth Wilkinson, head of automotive services classes at the center, who consistently sends students to Lincoln Tech, believes in their process.

“We teach the students responsibility. We teach the students respect. They come in every morning and shake my hand. We are trying to put students out there to get a job,” Wilkinson said. “They need to step into the real world knowing how things work.”

Many of the automotive service students get a job at the Firestone in Selma once outside the program, but many wish to move on. Eddie Harrison, welding instructor at Dallas County Career Technical Center, says that a number kids want to leave Selma one day, and that welding is one of many avenues to experience a new life.

In order for youth to know about these options with the Dallas County Career Technical Education Center, and to provide different ways to individuals to better themselves, CTE month was formed.

For more information regarding CTE month events or the Dallas County Career Technical Center, contact Mrs. Williams at jwilliams@dallask12.org.