Dr. Philip C. Cleveland, Director of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development for the Alabama Department of Education, visited Enterprise High School Sept. 11 with state and federal officials to showcase the school’s career and technical education (CTE) programs.
Since 2006, the federal government has given funding to CTE programs through the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act.
“The state of Alabama receives around $21 million a year in Perkins funding,” Cleveland said. “Every school system and the community colleges receive an allocation of those funds to support career technical education.”
The Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE) is currently being observed by the Federal Office of Vocational and Adult Education, (OVAE), which handles the Perkins funding process.
Steve Brown of the OVAE also visited EHS along with Amy Brabham, Vice Chancellor for Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development for Alabama’s two-year college system.
Cleveland said the ALSDE chose to showcase Enterprise because of the diversity of program offerings available to students.
“It’s very unusual to have this much diversity at a comprehensive high school,” Cleveland said. “There are several career paths for students to choose.”
The new standards set by the ALSDE’s Plan 2020 focus on preparing students to enter the workforce or a four-year college.
“We’re working with specific industries, students and communities,” Cleveland said. “We’re connecting the dots between industry and education so students can be ready to start work when they leave Enterprise High School.”
Currently EHS offers several career and technical courses in specific clusters such as welding technology, health sciences, airframe and power plant maintenance, aviation maintenance technology, family and consumer sciences, agriscience, JROTC, automotive services, commerce and information technology.
Most of these areas of study are also paired with student organizations, which take the learning experience and conceptual understanding to the next level.
These organizations include: Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Health Occupation Students of America, Future Business Leaders of America, FFA and SkillsUSA.
Enterprise City Schools also partners with Enterprise State Community College (ESCC) to offer several dual-enrollment courses within these clusters.
Some of the courses are even free to students because of outside funding from Workforce Development Grants.
Enterprise City Schools begins the emphasis on skill building as students enter the eighth grade, when students begin testing to find career interests.
According to Judy Thomas, principal at Enterprise Junior High School, students are also required to take a career explorations class before they complete the ninth grade.
During the visit, Cleveland, Brown and Brabham discussed the plans for the future of the programs in Enterprise with administrators, career tech teachers and Interim Superintendent Jimmy Baker.
EHS Principal Matt Rodgers said the CTE program at EHS has flourished despite certain setbacks.
“We have a long-standing tradition of excellence in our career technical program,” he said. “We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re hungry and we want to keep these programs growing.”
Cleveland, who visited the school system last year, called EHS a model for other systems in the state that are beginning to develop a CTE program to comply with Plan 2020.
“This school system is to be commended for taking the extra steps to make sure students are college and career ready,” he said. “They’ve been doing it since before college-and-career-ready standards even existed.”