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CTE provides needed training for students

Thursday morning, the Chambers County Career and Technical Education Center (CTE) hosted a breakfast, which was made possible by the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce. During the breakfast, CTE director Ken Sealy delivered a presentation, informing those in attendance of the center’s latest news. This was followed by a tour of the facility, both of which reinforced the school’s primary mission: prepare students for the working world.

“Our primary goal is preparing and helping our kids to be college and career ready once they leave,” Sealy said on Thursday. “The jobs are what is important. Whether the student goes to college or doesn’t go to to college, our ultimate goal is a career for these students.”

As a relative newcomer to the Valley area, I must admit my knowledge of CTE was limited prior to Thursday morning. The plethora of concentrations available to students, along with the resources possessed by the school, were a pleasant surprise. Learning more about the history of CTE, along with the present-day impact it is having in Chambers County, was uplifting. The work being done here is having a positive impact on the availability of skilled labor in the area, and needs to be well understood by the Chambers County community.

CTE opened its doors in 1978 and now sees approximately 600 students from across Chambers County daily, pulling students from seven local schools. LaFayette, Valley and Lanett High School, along with Chambers Academy send high school students each day, while middle school students from Five Points, WF Burns and John P Powell also attend the CTE. Students arrive on buses at all hours of the school day, and stay for varying lengths of time depending on their area of study.

The center was originally opened to augment the training of workers for the textile industry. As the economic climate has shifted since the late ‘70s, CTE has had to adjust as well. Now the center offers programs in agri-science, automotive service technology, business, cosmetology, hospitality & tourism, engineering, graphic arts, health sciences, information technology, teaching & training and precision machining.

There is a shortage of skilled labor in both Chambers and Troup County, such has been discussed time and again as of late in both counties, as business owners seek out capable workers to fill needed positions. With this in mind, the career and technical education center is helping to ensure Chambers County students are well prepared to enter the business world in a number of professions where they will be likely to earn a comfortable wage.

When the opportunity arises, I urge you to look into the good work being done by the Chambers County Career and Technical Education Center. The school, its students and teachers are all some of the best and brightest Chambers County has to offer.