Pike County Schools receives Career Connected High School Grant in partnership with Troy City Schools

Published 10:32 am Friday, January 26, 2024

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Pike County Schools announced this week it has received a three-year Career Connected High School grant award from the Biden-Harris Administration, as part of the first-ever Perkins Innovation and Modernization, Career Connected High Schools (CCHS) grant program, in the amount of $2,659,520.19.

This grant, part of a $25 million investment issued by the U.S. Department of Education (Department), builds the capacity of education and workforce systems to partner with business and industry to develop new high-quality career-connected high school programs for more students. Grantees will leverage four evidence-based strategies, or “keys,” to help students in unlocking career success including: providing postsecondary education and career guidance; increasing access to dual or concurrent enrollment programs; increasing work-based learning opportunities; and providing industry-recognized credentials.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated, “President Biden understands that it’s time to invest in career-connected learning that will better prepare our young people for exciting careers and family-sustaining jobs in today’s most in-demand fields. We can transform the American high school experience and Raise the Bar for student engagement, achievement and career-readiness in this country by providing all students with access to dual enrollment classes, work-based learning, industry credentials, and comprehensive career advising. The Biden-Harris Administration is going to keep on fighting to provide every student in every community with career-connected learning.”

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The grant is part of the Department’s Raise the Bar: Unlocking Career Success initiative, aimed at helping young Americans access good-paying jobs created by President Biden’s Investing in America through seeding and scaling promising models of innovation. The CCHS grant program is the first in the Department’s history intended to build capacity and coordination among secondary and postsecondary education, workforce development systems, and other community partners to expand access to career-connected high school programs for more students, with a focus on increasing access to high-quality pathways for underserved students.

These grant funds will support Pike County Schools, in partnership with Troy City Schools, to implement the expansion of dual enrollment and work-based learning through career and technical education (CTE) to navigate barriers and ensure that students are provided advancement to be college and career ready. The primary goals are to increase the availability of high demand CTE dual enrollment courses to three high poverty high schools and expand simulated workplace models within all CTE programs to offer immersive experiences through hands-on learning in preparation for attainment of high-value industry-recognized credentials. The project will include dual enrollment offerings (in partnership with Enterprise State Community College, in Enterprise, AL) to include Mechatronics, Medical Assisting Technology, Additive and Subtractive Manufacturing, and Agriscience.

A Cosmetology program will also be started at the Troy-Pike Center for Technology. Further partnerships will also include Culinary Arts, in partnership with Trenholm State Community College, in Montgomery AL, and a transfer agreement with Alabama A & M University, in Normal, AL, for the dual enrollment Agriscience classes. The grant will serve 1,376 students in grades 9 through 12.

Pike County Schools and Troy City Schools would like to thank all those that supported this grant and those responsible for its submission. A special thank you to each of our two-year and four-year post-secondary partners. Without you this would not have been possible. Thank you to Representative Marcus Paramore, House District 89; Senator Josh Carnley, District 31; Dr. Jimmy Hull, Assistant State Superintendent of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development; U.S. Congressman Barry Moore, 2nd District, Alabama; U.S. Senators for Alabama Katie Britt and Tommy Tuberville; your unwavering support for this initiative is both humbling and appreciated.

Dr. Mark Bazzell, Superintendent, Pike County Schools stated that he wished to also thank Mr. Jeremy Knox and Dr. Jamie Rich, for their vision and passion to provide all students with access to high-quality CTE programs and opportunities. Your willingness to seek out funding to provide advancement for students to be college and career ready with the partnerships is second to none, and we look forward to witnessing how your efforts in writing this award-winning grant will impact students across both Pike County and Troy City Schools for years to come.