Career and Technical Education programs play vital role in Polk County

Vocational Education has played a critical role in North Carolina’s public education system since the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 made federal funds available.

Over time, with the transition to Perkins funds, Vocational Education has undergone a large revision on how and where courses are being taught. Formally known as Vocational Education, the state now refers to it as Career and Technical Education (CTE).

Every county conducts these courses in a different manner – while some counties use centers or exploration schools to teach CTE, others, such as Polk County, choose to keep the courses in the school building to keep them accessible to all students.

In Polk County, CTE courses are currently being taught at Polk County Middle School and Polk County High School. At PCMS, those courses included Life Skills, Computer Information Technology, Business and Health Science. PCHS offers courses in Agriculture, Animal Science, Horticulture, Business, Computer Information Technology, Health Science, Child Development, Carpentry and Masonry.

Although the name has changed, the courses still focus on practical, hands-on skills that will help students in the workforce. These courses give students a chance to learn skilled trades and soft skills while also creating opportunities for students to obtain high-demand jobs within our community.

PCHS students are building houses, working on the school farm and greenhouse, laying masonry brick, pouring concrete, caring for Polk Central Elementary School children in preschool and kindergarten classes, creating mulitmedia content using Adobe Photoshop and InDesign, completing clinical hours to obtain their CNA certification, learning how to use 3-D printers, welding and more while on campus during the school day.

To learn more about CTE in Polk County Schools, visit the program website or follow Polk CTE on Instagram (@polknc_cte) or Facebook (Polk NC CTE).

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