BCS expands career and technical education programs - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

BCS expands career and technical education programs

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WASHINGTON, N.C. - A district in the East is preparing some of its students for the workforce and helping them get jobs out of high school.

While many might remember classes in high school like woodworking and shop, Beaufort County Schools is bringing career and technical education (CTE) to a whole new level.

From masonry and drafting to animal science and nursing, students are gaining credentials to jump start their careers. Some classes even have wait lists. The district is expanding its CTE programs to include other industries.

"I like being outside and it's just enjoyable to me. I like to earn my money,” said Washington High School senior, Michael Barnes.

In about a month, Barnes will graduate high school and start working as a contractor. His masonry and drafting classes at WHS are preparing him.

"It’s hard labor,” said Barnes. “I don't know why, but I enjoy it."

"Just the fact of drawing and building houses just kind of interested me,” said sophomore Lacy Turner.

Turner is already thinking about how she can turn drafting into a career.

"It’s like designing whatever you want,” said Turner. “You still have a structure but you're able to go whatever way."

Because of the success of more than 30 concentrations within six programs, the district is adding several more concentrations next year including digital media, culinary arts and pharmacy.

"Once they have decided upon a pathway now, within career and technical education they can actually obtain industry recognized certifications before they graduate from high school allowing them to go straight to work,” said BCS CTE director, Stacey Gerard.

The district’s superintendent says the school has a record low dropout rate and says the CTE courses have something to do with it.

"There’s a relevance to the curriculum and relevance the work that they're doing in the CTE classes,” said Dr. Don Phipps. “That transfers over to the traditional academic classes. So, those classes begin to take on more meaning too."

Students like Barnes say these classes make school fun and prepare them for what’s ahead.

"If you're not good with books and you don't plan on going to a four year college this is the best way to make some money,” said Barnes.

The district hopes to add a career academy every year for the next five years. This fall will be the launch of the first one, which is for firefighting and EMT credentialing.

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