HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker made his way to Hattiesburg High School Thursday morning to issue a proclamation declaring February as National Career and Technical Education Month.
“Hattiesburg High has ten programs that are actually getting people real-world experience. There are three hundred students in those programs, and the goal is to make sure the students in addition to getting their high school diploma get going on whatever it is they're going to do after high school,” Baker said.
The Hattiesburg High School's Career and Technical Education (CTE) program teaches students unique skill sets that they could use later for their future career.
The state president of the National CTE program, Alissa Rice explained how this particular program led her to her calling.
“I think my ninth grade year, I went on a CTE tour and I went into robotics engineering and I just fell in love,” Rice explained. “So, I decided to do robotics and engineering.”
Barker recognizes the vital role the CTE program plays in educating students for their future careers. That's why Barker paid a visit to the school to issue a proclamation declaring February as National Career and Technical Education Month.
“If people can walk out of high school not only with a diploma but also a skill set with real training credentials and some kind of credible certificate… that's going to translate into real job opportunities and real dollars,” Barker explained. “Real opportunities to raise a family in the middle class.”
Multiple students said that they would encourage their peers to get involved with the program.
“It's a very fun class to have, and even if you don't go into the law enforcement it still teaches you different things,” a member of the CTE law program, Aleah Norman said.
“I really encourage everyone to look at all the programs because each program has a diverse significance about themselves, and if you deep down in your heart know what you want to do, you'll find it in one of those programs,” Rice said.
When students do complete this program, they receive a nationally recognized certificate allowing them to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.