A Columbus High School has been given a multimillion-dollar grant to prepare students for success in the workforce.
Officials with the Muscogee County School District have announced the approval of a $3.1 million grant, awarded by the Board of the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), to officially establish Jordan High School as a College and Career Academy.
Jordan Vocational High School’s principal Craig Fitts says grant funds will be used to upgrade facilities at Jordan High School in order to prepare students for 21st century workforce environments.
“The kids ultimately benefit because it allows the updating for our CTA programs which will ultimately impact them in their exposure to the latest technology. It also allows for them to be exposed to different internship opportunities and continued support from the community or interaction with our business and industry partners,”Fitts said.
The District began forming a vision, led by the Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) program, around the concept of a college and career academy in November 2017. Jordan High School was added to the Georgia College & Career Academy Network after submitting the initial grant application in 2018.
Fitts says last year the school was not awarded the grant and they were put in a cohort group of schools that were given the opportunity to add additional supports in writing the grant the second year.
Over the past year, Fitts says they were able to use their resources to make a stronger presentation to the TCSG. He says teachers, administrators, district level partners, business industry workers, city councilwoman Judy Thomas were all there when the school was awarded the grant in Atlanta. 12 students also attended and presented to TCSG their strengths and weaknesses.
Muscogee County Superintendent of Education Dr. David Lewis says the funding will prepare students with the skills required for jobs that are needed in today’s economy.
“I am extremely proud of the collective work contributed by everyone during the planning, writing and presentation phases of this competitive grant proposal. Building upon the rich tradition of Jordan Vocational High School, the funding provided through this grant award will serve to enhance and expand college and career opportunities for our students that align with the workforce needs throughout our community and the region,” said Dr. Lewis.
College and Career Academies represent a community partnership between a local school system, a technical college or post-secondary institution, and business leaders represented on the academy’s governing board, to ensure the fulfillment of its workforce development mission specific to each community.
“There were several visits to career academies around the state. We met often to paint a picture of what a career academy could bring to our community. We received a significant boost in business and industry support thanks to the partnership of the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce in coordination with the Columbus 2025 Initiative,” said Victoria Thomas, CTAE Director.
Georgia’s College and Career Academy Network offers high school students access to accredited college-level courses and technical certification programs.
More than 20,000 students are already enrolled in College and Career Academies throughout the state.