Schools receive $500,000 grantPublished 2:14pm Friday, February 21, 2014
The Butler County Commission for Economic Development and the Butler County School System have received a $500,000 grant that will be used to create two career academies at Greenville High School.
The funds were made available due to a bill passed in 2013 aimed at preparing students to be productive members of the state’s workforce.
The 21st Century Workforce Act provides funds for local school systems to update their career and technical education programs. A total of $50 million has been allocated for the initiative.
According to Jacob Morgan, director of workforce development at the BCCED, $433,694 will be used to create the Industrial Maintenance Academy and $57,074 will be used to create the Health Science Academy.
“We sought to find out what the needs were of the industries in our community, and what skills were lacking in our community, and we took that information to the school system,” Morgan said. “The school system is going to take that data and help students that are not going to go to college learn these skills and take them into the workforce. This is a giant leap forward for our county.”
Morgan said the Industrial Maintenance Academy will focus on welding, while the Health Science Academy will have manikins that will allow students to practice the necessary skills to be a nurse.
“This will put our students light years ahead in training, especially training for the kind of work our local industries do,” Morgan said.
The academies will be housed at Greenville High School and will be open to students in the Butler County School System.
“I see the pendulum swinging,” said Amy Bryan, interim superintendent of the Butler County School System. “It had swung away from the career side and focused more on college. Now we’re seeing it swing back the other way. I see the industries in our community benefiting from that. I see the students in our classroom benefiting from that.”
BCCED Chairman Cleve Poole called the announcement of the grant and the formation of the academies a “great day for Butler County.”
“When I was a kid, we had vocational training in the school system, but we went away from that, and we have kind of figured out that probably wasn’t best,” Poole said. “Now we’re coming back around to it. As we try to attract new industries and get others to expand, it’s vitally important we develop our workforce.”
Morgan said the academies will begin in the fall.