Community partners gathered on Wednesday, January 31, in the Oak Room at Ogeechee Technical College to hear updates on Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) and work-based learning in Bulloch County Schools (BCS).
According to the school system's website, "Bulloch County Schools provides Career Technical & Agricultural Education career pathway courses developed by the state of Georgia and the Educating Georgia's Future Workforce initiative, which leverages partnerships with industry and higher education to ensure students have the skills they need to thrive in the future workforce."
In addition to providing an opportunity for networking, the summit's goals were to update business, industry, and community partners about the continued progress that has been made toward accomplishing the goals of the Bulloch County Career Workforce Development Plan and to celebrate successes within Bulloch County Schools' career pathway programs.
The summit began with a breakfast sponsored by CORE Credit Union, which was prepared and served by a team of Culinary Arts students from Statesboro High School. OTC President Lori Durden provided the welcome following the meal.
"CTAE and work-based learning are such an integral part of education here in Bulloch County," Durden said, noting that these opportunities provide vital exposure for our students, allowing them to become more well-rounded in life skills and problem solving.
Bethany Gilliam, CTAE Director for BCS, then introduced Work-Based Learning coordinators Kristen Rogers (Statesboro High) and Renee Rogers (Southeast Bulloch), who recognized students and educators from our district for recent awards and certifications. (See recipients and photos at the end of the article.)
Reviewing goals & celebrating CTAE wins
Development Authority of Bulloch County Vice President Rachel Barnwell gave an update on Bulloch's Career-Workforce Development Plan, highlighting not only the goals of the plan but also the successes so far.
"We have so much to be proud of, and it's important to take a moment to celebrate the wins," Barnwell said.
The goals of the plan are as follows:
- Sustain a collaborative for developing and monitoring continuous improvement of ongoing community-wide career and workforce development strategies.
- Implement an exemplary district-wide program for employability skills training, rigorous coursework, and authentic experiences for all CTAE students.
- Prepare all students enrolled in Bulloch County Schools to be career and workforce ready through enrollment, enlistment, or employment opportunities.
Barnwell acknowledged Goal 1 of the plan as the most accomplished to date, noting that in addition to holding the summit and an upcoming internal retreat, Bulloch County is working with Hanover Research to do a formal evaluation of the CTAE Program and Workforce Development Plan.
While Goal 2 is identified as an area for growth, Barnwell outlined successes in the expansion of pathways at all our high schools. BCS has added Graphic Design, Forest Mechanical Systems, and Workforce Ready at Statesboro High School and Teaching as a Profession at Portal Middle High School. The system has also expanded Business Accounting at Southeast Bulloch High School and Work-Based Learning at Statesboro High School and Southeast Bulloch High School and added clinicals for third year Allied Health Pathway students.
In exciting news, the school system will be adding Heavy Equipment Operations at Southeast Bulloch High School in FY25.
Barnwell also noted that the county continues to have strong dual enrollment numbers and continued growth in Career Technical Student Organizations, as evidenced by the presentations made earlier in the summit.
Goal 3 is well on its way, too, as Bulloch County has seen massive growth in work-based learning since FY21. In FY24, Bulloch County Schools had 293 students with at least one block of work-based learning, up from just 180 students in '21. The school system continues to host "Discovery Events" for students, including the College & Career Expo for 9th graders, the Business & Industry Showcase for 10th graders, and Manufacturing Day for 11th graders.
College & Career Academy updates
Following the update on the plan's goals, Teresa Phillips, Assistant Superintendent of School Improvement, and Bethany Gilliam provided information on BCS's College & Career Academy. The school system has a plan to focus different pathways at each of our three high schools, allowing BCS to maximize resources and diversify offerings.
"We are blessed and fortunate to be able to offer such diverse opportunities for our students," Phillips said, noting that Bulloch County aims to provide unique pathways like Heavy Equipment, Logistics, Non-Invasive Healthcare Technology, Sports Medicine, Electric Vehicles, Public Administration, Cosmetology, and Networking to better prepare its students.
Gilliam explained that going forward in the system's longterm plan, some pathways will be available at all high schools, while others will only be at one school. However, all pathways are available to all students, as transportation will be provided between schools for those students interested in a pathway not housed at their home campus. Gilliam said the plan offers lots of flexibility and opportunities for students to earn college credits.
The school system is committed to providing a variety of pathways to match not only the interests and aptitudes of its students but also our local workforce needs. When the longterm plan is fully implemented, Bulloch County Schools will offer an impressive total of 35 pathways for its students across three high schools.
"We want our students to have options, whether it's the military, college, or a career," Gilliam said. "That's our goal with this program."
A current list of Career Clusters and Pathways can be found here.
'Innovative, persistent & flexible'
BCS Superintendent Charles Wilson closed the summit by sharing that someone recently made a comment to him that Bulloch County is the leader in the workforce development collaboration.
"It's just what we do," Wilson said. "It's what we've been doing and what we'll continue to do because we knew it was right for Bulloch County."
Wilson also noted that because of how rapidly the world and workforce change, Bulloch County Schools has to remain innovative, persistent, and flexible in its CTAE efforts.
"In Bulloch County Schools, we prepare students to be productive members of society, but we also help them find what they love to do and do well," he said.
Visit careerreadybulloch.org to learn more.
Students & Educators Recognized
Southeast Bulloch High School
- Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) 2023 State Leadership Conference
- Advisor: Charity Masters
- Addie Sherrod, 2nd Place Teach & Train
- Reagan Padgett, National Qualifier FCCLA Chapter Website
- Kaleb Hernandez, National Qualifier Digital Stories for Change
- Charity Masters, Master Advisor, 2023 National Leadership Conference
- Brent Osborne, Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Region 4 Advisor of the Year
- Anna Wellman, Work-Based Learning Southeast Region Student of the Year
Statesboro High School
- Josh Hall, SHS Construction Program, Construction Ready Industry Certification
- SkillsUSA Georgia 2023 State & National Leadership Conferences
- Advisors: Josh Hall & Glenn Bailey
- Evan Smith, Nathan Wallace, Patrick Mock, Perry Hattaway, 1st Place TeamWorks (State)
- Nicholas Cortes, 2nd Place Related Technical Math (National)
- Future Business Leaders of America 2023 State Leadership Conference
- Advisor: Melissa Anderson
- Carson Smith, National Qualifier in Political Science
- Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America 2023 State & National Leadership Conferences
- Advisors: Rosanna Ward & Jackie Merrill
- Mincey Akins, 1st Place Early Childhood Education (State)
- Kyla Bell, 1st Place Focus on Children (State)
- Annalee Marsh and Kate Yawn, 1st Place Event Management (State)
- Kae'dyn Miller, 2nd Place Leadership (State)
- Kalen McNeil, 1st Place Chapter in Review Portfolio (National)