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Special to the News
The Coosa County Career Tech Center (CCCTC) is extremely excited to share the announcement from the Alabama State Department of Education that the CCCTC has been awarded the $200,000 Region 5 Career Tech Education (CTE) Middle School Innovation Grant.
School systems within each of the seven workforce regions across the state of Alabama were able to submit competitive grants (one $50,000 and one $200,000 grant) within the established region by detailing their plans of how they would promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) concepts through career and technical education. Region 5, known as Central Alabama Works, serves 13 counties that encompass more than 20 school systems that were eligible to apply for the grants.
The grant will be used to help introduce middle school students, specifically in seventh and eigth grades, to an additional number of career and technical activities that promote awareness, exposure and exploration of technical skills, education and careers.
As a result of these funds, CCCTC will also be purchasing additional equipment for CTE programs that will allow students to learn, develop and hone highly technical skills that are industry relevant in various career fields right here in the Coosa County area. CTE faculty and staff will also be receiving training and professional development that will allow the faculty and staff to help support these middle school students in pursuing new and innovative careers that are available to them through enrollment in career and technical education programming at CCCTC.
Funds of up to $200,000 will be used to provide awareness, exposure and exploration of STEM-related skills and careers and corresponding instruction, equipment, materials and supplies, and project-based learning activities which also embed the core class concepts of literacy, math and science through the integration of those concepts via CTE programming.
The expected outcome is that once the middle school students are in high school, through continued enrollment in CTE programs at Coosa County Career Tech Center and partnering dual enrollment programs, the student participants will remain engaged in a STEM-related career path.
Further, students will have a faculty/staff advisor who will provide coaching services, help retain students in their career pathways and assist students in developing plans that connect middle school to high school and eventually post-secondary training, education and employment opportunities.
Participating students will have their membership in the school robotics club and career tech student organization covered and will participate in local chapter meetings, competitions, state meetings, and additional related offerings for the year.
Students who compete and are selected to represent the organization in more advanced competitions will receive scholarships that provide funding for them to attend more advanced competitions and events. Student officers may also be provided scholarships for participation in these events.
Funding from the grant will provide the opportunity for participating students, advisors and needed chaperones to attend competitive events, as well as provide stipends and related costs for school employees who are instrumental in helping prepare students to compete in these events.
Lastly, visits to area business and industry settings, career fairs, college tours, and the like will be offered at a minimum of every nine weeks, and funds may be used to scholarship interested students in attending STEM-based camps that provide educationally sound instruction and engagement during out-of-school hours.
Kudos goes to Hester Hamby, Career Technical Education and Workforce Development director at CCCTC, for writing the winning grant which will increase educational opportunities for Coosa’s students and put them on a path to post-secondary success.