SUMITON- Chris McCullar, the Career Tech director for the Walker County School System, talked to the East Walker Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday about the importance of career and technical education …
SUMITON- Chris McCullar, the Career Tech director for the Walker County School System, talked to the East Walker Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday about the importance of career and technical education for workforce development.
The Walker County Center of Technology (WCCT) services five county high schools, as well as Jasper High School, and they have 707 students coming through the center each day.
“Our main goal is to get the right student in the right class, at the right time,” McCullar said.
WCCT has 14 programs on the campus in Jasper, and 15 programs out in the county high schools. Students get a feel for what WCCT has to offer in the eighth grade with tours.
Ninth graders get a hands-on visit to get a closer look at two programs before decided on what program to choose as 10th graders. This approach has helped students to get a feel for the program that’s right for them.
WCCT has a career coach who works closely with ninth-grade students to develop a four-year plan to help them get on the right path for where they want to be when they get out of school, according to McCullar.
The facility has several factors that’s moving career tech forward in the county.
Every year the credentials that students receive seem to be increasing, according to McCullar. Credentials are skill sets that industry needs. McCullar points out that not every student coming through WCCT earns credentials, but those who do have marketable skills.
One of the initiatives is a collaborative effort where the WCCT and Bevill State Community College instructors are in the same building teaching college and high school students at the same time.
In the past, Walker County School and Jasper Schools have had friction between them, he noted.
“I’m trying to remove some of that friction,” McCullar said. “We’re doing a lot of things together now that we’ve never done before,” he said, giving an example. “Students from Dora can take ROTC or culinary,” he said. Jasper students can take courses at WCCT that are not available in Jasper schools.
The precision machine program is a three-way collaboration between Jasper, WCCT, and Bevill State. “Any time we can get three entities together like Bevill State, Jasper city, and Walker County, there is so much more we can do,” he said.
Another initiative they do is Groundhog Shadow Day, which gives students a chance to shadow people doing hands-on work in businesses throughout the county.
The career tech program is evolving, and it’s not where McCullar would like it to be, but he feels they are moving in the right direction.
In other action, the chamber:
• Welcomed a new member to the chamber, Mr. B’s Express Car Wash. The chamber will approach the new owner to set up a date for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
• Heard visiting local businessman Joey Clark, who owns The Blend Coffee, report that he recently relocated from Main Street to the strip mall near Dollar General across from the car wash on Highway 78.
• Heard Clay Grice give a report on the annual East Walker Chamber Golf Tournament, which is scheduled for Friday, May 31.