SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Some of the most important work being done in Savannah-Chatham County high schools is on what students will be doing after high school.
“We’re not the vocational program that sat in the corner years ago, the shop class. We actually teach construction. We actually teach welding. We actually teach firefighters. We have kids who have gone for the firefighting program and have been hired.”
The college and career prep program at Savannah-Chatham schools provides students access to a range of post-school options - as part of the current curriculum and possibly their future.
“Four or five years ago, all students were required to choose a pathway, so we offer as many as possible. There are 17 career clusters, and we offer all 17. We have about 120 pathways, So, students have a wide variety of what they can choose to focus on and some of them choose two or three.”
Those programs are being celebrated in February with Savannah-Chatham’s CTAE Month.
“CTAE stands for career tech, agriculture education.”
But they are a constant presence in local schools.
“We are CTAE Year, all year long. Because our students work through the school year and they work when school is out.”
And some students get a chance to work at the area’s largest companies through partnerships with Gulfstream, JCB, Mitsubishi and the Ports Authority.
“Our health care science program at Beach High School serves as a pipeline for phlebotomy and patient-care tech. So, St. Joseph’s/Candler has hired many of our students.”
Other students are receiving certification while still in high school that will help them get jobs later.
“But not only do we provide the opportunity, we pay for the certification. We prepare those kids to make those conscious decisions while they are in high school, so if it requires a four-year degree, they have a fresh start while they are in school. Many times, parents have said you have to have a four-year degree. But our superintendent told us that every scholar needs a job. So, what we do is prepare our kids for careers. We offer them the opportunity for them to receive certification while they’re in high school.”