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School District Career and Technical Courses Give Students Advantage on Jobs

Students can now graduate from Wakulla High School one step closer to their careers. 


New and ongoing Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses all lead to industry certifications that students can earn at no cost to them.   These programs, formerly termed as Vocational, offer students the chance to learn many skills that can lead directly to employment after high school graduation; to certificate programs in postsecondary schools like Lively Technical Center; and/or on to college degrees.   


Superintendent Bobby Pearce is starting a new Welding CTE program for 2014-2015 to add to the already popular Automotive Technology program started last year through a dual enrollment partnership with Lively Technical Center.  Wakulla High School students are already earning automotive repair industry certification hours that  then articulate into a certificate program at Lively.  Welding will work the same way.  Both programs are at no cost to the student while he or she is enrolled at WHS.


For the third year, Riversprings Middle School and Wakulla Middle School technology teachers  are teaching a high school credit CTE course.  It is the first course in a series called Computing for College and Careers.  It articulates to several programs at WHS should students choose to continue in the areas of Digital Design, Web Design, or Accounting.  It also meets students’ vocational credit requirement for high school graduation.

Many students work in the areas they were trained in during high school or afterwards in order to work their way through college or other training programs after high school.  They often can get higher paying jobs with high school training in a CTE area than if they had no training and were working for minimum wage.


For example, students who graduate from the WHS Medical Academy with their Certified Nursing Assistant certificate can find work right away.  In the Engineering Academy started in 2012-2013, students are earning Tallahassee Community College dual enrollment credits that lead to certificates in areas of Manufacturing Engineering before they even graduate from high school.   They can also earn industry certification in Autodesk Inventor and other software design areas.


Other CTE programs of study include Culinary Operations, Accounting, Web Design, Digital Design, Carpentry, and TV Production.  Students can also take other CTE classes at Lively Technical Center at no cost while in high school, such as Avionics.  Students who complete a program or who are close to completing one can also work in that area while in high school and get paid for their On the Job Training (OJT) experience.

Courses are open to all students in general education and in exceptional education classes who are seeking a standard diploma.  There are no prerequisites to the initial CTE classes, and anyone may apply to the academies.  The Engineering Academy does have a prerequisite of passing Algebra I in middle school.  In addition, there are specialized career preparation programs for some students with disabilities. They also have OJT work experience opportunities.


Schedule requests are made during the second semester of the school year with the help of a high school administrator or guidance counselor as they meet with students one on one. Parents are encouraged to be involved in the process.  It is a good idea for students who are in attendance at WHS to take the time to learn about the programs they might be interested in for the next school year.  Incoming 8th graders are given presentations, videos, visits, and a Curriculum Night to learn more about the programs before they enter the high school.


For more information about career training, WHS Career Specialist Sarabeth Jones or WHS Assistant Principal of Curriculum Sunny Chancy can answer questions about the CTE programs at

926-2221.  Administrators at the Wakulla County School District office at 926-0065 can answer questions about the following to ensure access and equity in CTE programs: Title IX – Sue Anderson, Director of  Special Programs and District Assessment; 504 compliance – Tanya English, Executive Director of Exceptional Student Education and Student Services; and high school and postsecondary CTE courses –Katherine Spivey, District CTE Director.