Career technical education options continue to expand in Jasper City Schools.
Beth Kennedy, career tech director for the school system, recently addressed school board members to discuss career tech possibilities for students.
"We have a very robust career tech program here at the high school, for a school our size," Kennedy said.
Currently, the school system offers culinary arts, health sciences, precision machining, business management and administration, and junior reserve officer training corps programs that students can choose to pursue. A STEM pathway has also been created recently to offer computer science and a pre-engineering pathway for students.
"Our programs are right in line with those demands of industry and jobs in our area," Kennedy said.
According to Kennedy, high-demand jobs in our region include medical assistants, registered nurses, medical secretaries, and software developers. Some other high-demand occupations include plumbers, industrial truck and tractor operators, sales representatives, landscaping workers, etc.
In Walker County, a majority of jobs are in the medical, retail, manufacturing, food services and educational fields.
Students at Jasper High School can also take classes in a number of programs offered by the Walker County Center of Technology (part of the Walker County Schools' system). Those programs include automotive technology, collision repair, welding, electrical technology, HVAC, cosmetology, graphic design and engineering/drafting.
"That has been a fabulous partnership, one in which our students thrive and have been successful," Kennedy said.
Students in Walker County schools can also take career tech courses offered by the city school system.
Kennedy said Jasper High students also have the opportunity to take advantage of work-based learning programs.
"We are really working to put these students into jobs that are in their pathway," she said.
Project Lead the Way is a further complement to career tech programs in Jasper City Schools and allows junior high students the option to explore careers in robotics and the medical field.
In regards to career tech, Kennedy said, "It's for all kids, and it's an area where everybody can be successful at some level."