Citing a need for a broad vision on career/technical education for Dothan City Schools and buoyed by the success of a recent job fair, the Board of Education Monday voted unanimously to approve a new coordinator position to oversee career/tech direction for city schools.
The approval during a special called board meeting Monday paves the way for the city to advertise for the position of CTE Coordinator. It will be funded for a period of three years by the Wiregrass Foundation and the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.
“This will allow us to shape a plan and vision for career/technical education, or whatever we decide to call it,” said Dr. Phyllis Edwards, superintendent of education for Dothan City Schools. “We are already doing a lot with career/tech, but more can be done. We are looking into other offerings including logistics, which is coming to be a hot area for employment. We are looking at construction and the aeronautical area as well.”
City employers have long sought new high school graduates with job-ready skills, but have had mixed success. A recent job fair for high school seniors accelerated Edwards’ desire to move forward with the new position and landed an agreement with the Chamber of Commerce and Wiregrass Foundation for funding.
“I don’t want people to think this is just for a certain segment of our students,” Edwards said. “I’d love for every graduate to walk across the stage with some sort of certificate in hand. You don’t know what is going to happen. You may go all the way through college and find that job is not there for you and you will need something to fall back on.”
Edwards said the system plans to survey students to find their interests to assist in the creation of career/tech offerings and to continue to reach out to the employment community as well.
“We’ve talked about this in our community for many years, to go out there in our community and find out exactly what the skills are that are needed, so we can help our students get those skills,” school board chairman Mike Schmitz said. “It’s vital we help our students get the skills they need to get the great jobs that exist right here in our community. Employers need us to do a better job of helping our kids get those skills.”
Also Monday, Director of Personnel Services Todd Weeks said the system has a few open positions as retirement notices continue to come in. There are current openings for Spanish teachers and art teachers. Edwards said her goal is to have Spanish language and art instruction at all elementary schools, which would likely require an instructor for every two schools in the system.