New career education programs launch in western Virginia

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 7:18 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Two new programs launched Friday in different parts of western Virginia will help prepare students for life after high school, and perhaps lead them to successful careers here at home.

We start in Ferrum, where representatives of Ferrum College and Franklin County High School signed a memorandum of understanding - to partner on the “Education for Employment - Start on Success” Course.

“It’s a big deal. It’s the first time we’ve had a course like this to offer for our students on a standard diploma or an advanced diploma on the Ferrum College campus,” said Lisa Cook, Franklin County High School Special Education Coordinator. “We think it’s great for both.”

“It will help our young people understand what they’re going to need after high school,” said Franklin County High School teacher C.D. White.

The dual enrollment course will teach skills students will need when they join the workforce, and include internships on the Ferrum College campus.

“It’s a very diverse group of young men and women and the reason they are here, is to be able to explore the hands-on opportunity of those careers that they hopefully are seeking to provide,” said Ferrum College President Dr. Mirta Martin.

From Ferrum we head to Galax and the Crossroads Institute, where the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership and several other organizations launched the Twin County Manufacturing Excellence Program.

“We want students to be able to see the career opportunities that are here in their own backyard,” said Rebecca Fisher, Talent Solutions Manager for the Mount Rogers Regional Partnership. “We don’t want any student graduating in our region saying I wasn’t aware these careers were available.”

They say it will provide a fast track for high school seniors in Carroll County, Grayson County and Galax who are interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing.

“We want our young people to know if they want to stay home, we would like them to stay in our region,” said Nichole Hair, Mount Rogers Regional Partnership Executive Director. “Here are career opportunities available to them, as well as a great quality of life too.”

Both programs are now under way, hoping these first groups of students are the first of many who will benefit from a closer look at their potential careers.