Amanda Campbell, the simulated workplace coordinator for Carroll High School’s Career Center, said the center was recently selected as the model for 85 similar simulated workforce programs throughout the state. She said seven of the career center’s 10 CTE programs have converted their classrooms into simulated businesses that reflect services offered within the community.
In its full implementation across all of the programs next school year, the career center courses are expected to involve industry-indicative uniforms for the students, time entry for them to clock in and out of class, leadership positions – such as managers – for which the students can apply and interview, and soft skills development. The students are expected to use employee manuals as their textbooks, and are typically paid with school credit or industry supplies they can use within the courses.
The teachers for each industry will serve as the chief executive officer of each of the businesses, said CHS Career Center Director Dana Griggs.
“The way they’re learning, they’re being taught critical thinking skills and problem solving and conflict resolution from each other, some of which a teacher wouldn’t normally teach or that you just can’t teach,” she said.
“It’s about a frame of mind.”
The “businesses” at the career center represent courses in health science, cosmetology, engineering, graphics and animation, and television production. There are also courses at the center that are part of the National Center for Construction and Research building construction program and the Alabama Power Business Academy at the school.
Each program has a board of directors made up of area business leaders who provide input on the courses and opportunities for the students to intern.
Philip Cleveland, the Alabama Department of Education director of career technical education, said simulated workplace environments in Alabama are modeled closely to those in West Virginia, which he said was the first state to implement simulated workforce environments at the high school level statewide.
In Alabama, Cleveland said the programs are designed with business and industry workplace needs in mind. He said the programs’ formats are embedded with industry certification requirements and some state and federal employment training programs. He said the state department has partnered with AIDT for its Ready to Work Program.
Cleveland said the department hopes to have simulated workplace environments implemented in each of the 59 centers for CTE training in the state within the next year.
“Our Alabama business and industry partners have spoken and said we need to do a better job with employability skills. The only way to do that is to hold students accountable by getting them ready and prepared for the workforce,” Cleveland said.
“So far our programs have been very successful and the students are buying into it. Those businesses and industries in an advisory role are coming in and helping us to do mock interviews, some students are completing applications, and they’re seeing communication skills are key.”
CHS senior Adrian Woodall said the new career course format in his masonry course, which are part of the Eagles Masonry simulated company at the school, mimic how he clocks in and out at his real job.
CHS junior Tanner Livingston, who takes an engineering and graphics animation course at the Animation Design simulated business at the school, said the class is closely connected to what he wants to do as a career cartoonist.
“I’ve always loved drawing and I feel like it’s a good fit for me,” he said.
“I love how the class is run like a business.”
– Article originally published in The Dothan Eagle, March 17, 2016. Written by Ebony Davis. Read the original article here.