Principals focus on future workers

Principals focus on future workers
Posted on 07/30/2019

Morganton, NC – Thursday, July 18, 2019

Burke County Public Schools administrators got schooled in workforce development opportunities at their annual retreat Monday and Tuesday. In addition to hearing updates from directors for the upcoming academic year and participating in team building activities, principals visited Western Piedmont Community College, Catawba Valley Community College and the N.C. Center for Engineering Technologies.

Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Larry Putnam said, “Our summer administrator meetings over the last few years have centered on workforce development. We have had business, industry and government leaders speak to our principals, we have been on industry tours, and this year, we looked at higher education opportunities and paths our students can take while they are still in high school that will give them direction and a head start. We know that 85 percent of our graduates will not go off to college or complete two years at a community college, which has us seeking ways to point them in a direction to learn a skilled trade, obtain a certificate and find fulfilling, productive careers.”

At Western Piedmont Community College the principals toured the new mechatronics building and learned about a cohort of Burke County Public Schools students who are working on a two-year mechatronics degree. Mechatronics combines mechanical and electrical engineering and is needed in any field that mass produces products. The group also learned about Career and College Promise high school courses that offer transferable college credits and toured Burke Middle College and the STEAM Academy, where Burke students in third through 12th grades have various advanced learning opportunities, including virtual North Carolina School of Science and Math courses.

At Catawba Valley Community College the principals toured the Workforce Solutions Complex for Industrial and Engineering Technology. The complex also has a mechatronics program as well as auto mechanics, welding, heating and air, electrician and robotics.

At the N.C. Center for Engineering Technologies, the principals learned about engineering summer camps for teachers and students and how the center provides space for applied research in engineering related fields and classrooms for engineering students in the University of North Carolina system of schools.
Dr. Putnam said, “Through these tours I hope our principals saw the endgame, which ultimately is readying the next workforce for jobs that have yet to be created. Even though we had elementary principals on the tours with our middle and high school principals, it’s important for all levels to realize the earlier we can get students interested and engaged in learning and in certain fields, the brighter their futures will be.”

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