Career Technical Center Coming To Crenshaw County

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By Amanda Wade

Crenshaw County students will get new opportunities next school year. The board of education is working with auto suppliers to create a Career Technical Center.

It is an idea that the superintendent says has been in the works for nearly three years, and Tuesday morning, the SMART plant signed a resolution to partner with the school system and help prepare students for the workforce.

The Crenshaw County Superintendent, Randy Wilkes, says starting in August, a minimum of 60 students will be able to take classes in health, business marketing, welding, computer tech, and industrial engineering, "They will be elective type courses. Hopefully what we'll do is provide them with job ready skills so that when they graduate, they'll have the skills necessary to secure employment right away."

The SMART plant will provide instructors and equipment for industrial engineering. Dongwon and Silla have also said they will get involved. SMART Plant general manager, Gary Sport, says this career technical center will help the companies save on training costs, "It's a very costly process. Estimates put it somewhere in the neighborhood of $3,000 per employee and when your turnover runs high, a person comes in and works for two or three weeks and decides its not for them, that's pretty much money down the drain. So we're hoping what this will do is give us the opportunity to forgo some of those costs."

The superintendent says they have nearly $230,000 in grants for equipment and supplies. The Crenshaw County Board of Education building will undergo a $600,000 renovation over the summer to house the program.

Wilkes also says the renovations and curriculum for the courses will be complete in time for the beginning of the next school year.

In a survey of 300 students, nearly 75% say they are interested in taking the new courses.

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