County Schools’ workforce development looking to engage students, teachers and businesses

-A A +A
By Kacie Goode

A lot of work has been going into work-based learning at Nelson County Schools as the district continues looking at ways to improve career and technical education and student readiness for post-secondary opportunities.

During the Jan. 15 Board of Education meeting, the district’s workforce development team shared some of the recent and upcoming efforts with the board, including dual credit opportunities, plans to expose students to more networking events, having students develop digital portfolios and resumes, implementing “The World Awaits” family nights for conversations around work-based learning, and developing a Future Ready Alliance Team of regional and local employers to guide the district’s career pathway offerings.

Among the major goals for the district in work-based learning is to have all Nelson County teachers participating in teacher externships by 2023. Currently, there are 30 teachers in the district participating. These externships, referred to by district officials as NPOSSIBLE Externships, will allow educators to collaborate with local industry partners in exploring workforce needs. Participants have traveled to different companies such as Jim Beam and UPS as part of the experience.

“We’re seeing how people collaborate in the workforce, we’re seeing how people communicate in the workforce” and what needs to be done in the classroom to prepare students to do the same, said Randi Jury, an externship cohort leader.

First-grade teacher Morgan Mayer said the externships have exposed her to local opportunities for kids in the future.

“Knowing these jobs are right here in our community,” and being able to expose students to them is important, she said.

Doug McClure, carpentry instructor at the Nelson County Area Technology Center, said his program already requires connection to industry, but the externships are especially important for teachers whose students are not yet enrolled in career and technical education programs.

In addition to the externships, other news from the team included introducing an engineering pathway next year as part of a partnership with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College and the team meeting with employers on a weekly basis to discuss learning opportunities.

Bardstown City Schools promoting apprenticeships

The city school system is also looking to grow career and technical education opportunities for students with participation in the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky program.

Next month, students interested in pursuing an insurance pathway will have a chance to learn more about the industry and potentially begin pre-apprenticeship training and work this summer. The insurance TRACK option is part of a pilot program in which Bardstown City Schools is participating.

The district will also offer a construction TRACK through collaboration with RAME Contracting in Washington County.

In an email to The Standard, teacher Belinda Hodges said in order for TRACK to be successful, there must be planning and communication between schools and companies.

“With industry leaders reaching out to high schools, we expect to see apprenticeship opportunities grow in future years,” she said. “Career Pathways through CTE programs is how students can get plugged into these opportunities.”

She said the district also looks to partner with other industries in the region to expand apprenticeship opportunities for BHS students.