EFFINGHAM COUNTY, Ga. (WTOC) - Students at Effingham College & Career Academy receive daily hands-on training in multiple fields like culinary, automotive, engineering, and health care studies.
CTAE District Coordinator Todd Wall says they give the students, “more opportunities to get into that career pathway before they ever leave high school.”
The academy holds everything from a garage to a kitchen.
Facilities and tools that truly set this approach to education apart from the rest, for teachers like Director of Engineering Aaron Specht.
“I’ve worked at a variety of different schools and the big thing I see at a career academy is that kids have got the option of choice,” said Specht.
Students like Senior Culinary Student Elijah Lisi agree.
“This (ECCA) is just more interesting. It’s way more fun than anything else I could do in school.”
The idea is to hone in on a student’s interest early, in some cases as early as elementary school, then expose them to what that career looks like in the real world.
“We’ve got people that will come in and work with the kids from the industry and show them, hey this is exactly what you need to do,” said Specht.
Students like Lisi found that what was once just an interest has now turned into much more.
“I came here for friends and I definitely found a joy and love for cooking,” said Lisi.
Each success story gives them a chance to break a stigma along the way.
“You don’t need to go to college, you don’t even necessarily need to go to tech school. You just need the skills to get into whatever field you want to do,” said Specht.
While skills in a chosen trade are important, Wall knows to be truly successful takes more.
“Not only preparing students with the knowledge and skills to do a job we’re preparing them with the knowledge and skills of being a good employee.”
Like being on time, staying on task and coming prepared, all of which are calculated into their students’ grades.
A combination of skills that makes them believe any student who graduates their program will absolutely be “skilled to work.”
In February, “Skilled to Work” will take us out to Honeyridge Plantation to show us how Effingham College and Career Academy students take lessons from the classroom, out onto the farm.