LAMAR COUNTY, Miss. (WDAM) - This month is National Career and Technical Education month. Lamar County Schools career technical director Suzanne Kelly said Lamar County School District is celebrating by showing students of its Technical Education Program that they don’t have to leave home to find great career opportunities in the Pine Belt.
“We want our kids to leave us ready for whatever options they choose,” Kelly said.
It’s Kelly’s job to make sure students know and take advantage of career opportunities early on. The center offers seven two-year programs like health-science, teacher academy, construction technology and automotive to name a few.
“Engineering, unmanned aerial systems, culinary, agriculture and early childhood education,” Kelley added.
To celebrate Career and Technical Education month, Kelly said students can take advantage of the opportunities the center is bringing right in to the classroom each week.
“For example, we started with PRCC. There is a career technical scholarship that all students, if they complete a two-year program and maintain an overall 3.0 average, they can get a half tuition scholarship," Kelly said. “If they have a 3.5 average overall, they get a full tuition scholarship for four semesters at Pearl River Community College.”
Kelly said there isn’t a shortage of success stories. She said many students are leaving the program with national certifications that businesses and industries are looking to hire right out of high school.
“We had 11 kids earn the NCCER, which is a construction and wielding certification," Kelly said. “We had three students earn level one carpentry, we had 18 automotive service.”
She said the program makes sure the kids have hands-on, real-life experiences so they can leave high school with strong skills, but hopefully stay and put those skills right back in the Pine Belt community.
To finish up National Career and Technical Education month, the Lamar County CTE Teacher Academy students are working an event at Targe in Hattiesburg, on Feb. 28 for Read Across America Day. The students will have hands-on stations for kids to interact with throughout Target from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s free and open to the community.