GCS Prepared for New Diploma Endorsements

In just a few years, students across the state will graduate with one of three possible endorsements on their diplomas - career-ready, college-ready or both. The new law, signed Monday by Governor Pat McCrory, aligns with strategies already employed by Guilford County Schools (GCS).

The GCS College Tech Prep (CTP) program prepares students to be both college- and career-ready and gives students multiple options after graduation, including a four-year college, a two-year degree or apprenticeship programs. Students who are designated as College Tech Prep completers pursue a career-focused track in one of 13 areas, such as finance, health science or architecture/construction, in addition to traditional academic classes. More than 51 percent of GCS students completed a CTP course of study in 2012.

Guilford County Schools' CTP programs are often on the cutting edge of developing jobs. For instance, GCS teachers pioneered the state-approved curriculum for scientific visualization and game art design. GCS will also offer two new programs next year, in veterinary assisting and global logistics, both areas with strong job opportunities.

The CTE program can also meet the needs of students who are planning to go straight into the workforce, making them career-ready. In 2012, GCS students earned 3,190 industry standard certifications, in areas such as nursing and computer programming.

Students such as Robbie Fryar, who takes diesel technologies classes at Weaver Academy, are already making the leap to the workplace. Robbie is participating in an internship with James River Equipment, a local John Deere retailer, putting the skills he's learned in the classroom to the test on the job.

Many GCS students who are college-bound take the opportunity to enroll in a CTE course during high school. "CTE courses lay the foundation for students who are planning to pursue all types of careers, both high-tech and traditional," says Bob Gantt, GCS director of career and technical education. "They provide skills that translate not just to the workforce but also to the university setting and give students a head-start on a successful future." For more information on CTE programs, contact Gantt at 370-8358.