Students learn career and technical skills through vocational programs

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 7, 2003

WOODVILLE &045; Emphasizing the critical role that technical education plays in today’s work force, the

Martin Luther King Career and Technical Complex will hold special events starting Monday in conjunction with National Career and Technical Education Week.

One of the goals of the program is to heighten awareness of the opportunities for students to receive specialized training that ultimately improves their earning power.

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&uot;When one of these kids completes the auto mechanics course and gets a certificate, it’s a start &045; it opens the door to places like Nissan,&uot; instructor Linda Campbell said.

Although the center offers training for students who are not college-bound, the coursework is demanding.

&uot;The workplace is very technical now &045; you have to have that intelligence,&uot; said Campbell, who provides added support for students who have difficulty with the specialized manuals and testing procedures used in some of the courses.

High school sophomores, juniors and seniors learn skills in building trades, auto mechanics, auto body and fender repair, health care and business computing.

The two-year programs are taught in blocks, with underclassmen attending in the morning and seniors in the afternoons.

&uot;I’ve had so many kids pass through my course over the years, and they are out there doing well,&uot; said building trades instructor Charles Lee, who has taught at the center for 21 years.

Lee said his course provides the opportunity to learn virtually every facet of residential and commercial construction.

&uot;Framing houses is a trade.

Wiring, roofing, brick masonry &045; all of those are trades. And they get to do all of that in here,&uot; said Lee, who worked with a group of six on a residential wiring lesson Thursday morning.

In addition to technical training, the complex offers family resources such as parenting classes, teen counseling, tutoring and adult basic education classes.

On Monday, parents are invited to an open house at the center from 8:30 a.m. to 10:40 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Students will &uot;job shadow&uot; at area businesses and offices on Tuesday, and community leaders will speak to classes on Wednesday.

Sophomores are invited to tour the complex and talk with program directors on Thursday, and Dr. Samuel Magee of the Mississippi Department of Education will speak to an assembly on Friday.