By: Alicia Couch Payne

For decades, American teens have been told that they must get a college degree to amount to anything and receive a good salary.  Going to college and earning that four year degree no longer means a person will be successful and well paid.  Our nation’s college graduates are no longer the highest in demand American worker.  Skilled labor workers are hard to come by.  Towns across the nation are experiencing more economic growth but cannot find the skilled workers to fill their job openings.

Buford is no exception.  With several large scale building projects overseen by the city, Buford is experiencing this lack of skilled laborers first hand.  At a recent meeting it was said the city is having a difficult time finding enough legal skilled workers to keep up with their building plans.  Brick masons were specifically pointed out when mentioning the new High School building.

Buford City Schools strive to prepare their students to be successful in their future careers.  The school system has seen the growing lack of a skilled labor workforce to fill vacant jobs.  Skilled workers are at an all time high in demand and pay.  Many skilled workers earn more per year than a person who has a 4 year college degree.

At the recent Buford City School Board Meeting held September 23, 2017 the school board was asked if the High School could do further research about possibly offering CTAE courses.  CTAE stands for Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education.  The high school principal,Ed Shaddix and Jennifer Poole, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Buford school system have taken preliminary surveys among Buford’s high school students to gauge interest in CTAE course offerings.  

The school system sees the need to have CTAE courses offered to keep the city’s workforce in demand.  Because the number of students would in all likelihood be relatively small, Buford has approached the Gwinnett County School System to see if  a potential partnership might work between Buford City Schools and Gwinnett County.

If there’s enough interest after more research is conducted, the school system will go back to Gwinnett County to see about reaching an agreement that would allow Buford students who choose the CTAE path to leave BHS during the day to attend classes at Maxwell High School in Lawrenceville.   

The School Board  decided there was enough interest to pursue this further.  The research results will be revisited in a future board meeting.

Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) is preparing Georgia’s students for their next step after high school–college, beginning a career, registered apprenticeships, or the military. Georgia CTAE pathway course offerings, and the new Educating Georgia’s Future Workforce initiative, leverage partnerships with industry and higher education to ensure students have the skills they need to thrive in the future workforce. CTAE offers students more than 130 career pathways within the 17 Georgia Career Clusters.

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