2015-05-20 / Front Page

SUPER-CHARGED START

High school classes in energy give students an edge
By Anne Marie Kyzer

The jobs will be there.

The demand for electricity isn’t going anywhere but up, and Burke County educators want to make sure students are prepared to take advantage of opportunities in the industry.

They’re rolling out a new career pathway at Burke County High School targeted at the energy industry, offering a cluster of courses designed to give students a jump start in that direction while still in high school.

Since the state approved the curriculum for the new energy cluster, BCHS has become one of only a handful so far to act on the opportunity and will begin offering the classes this fall.

“We are very excited about this,” says Leslie Clark, director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education in Burke County. “This is a great op- portunity for students to learn about an industry where they can find good employment with attractive salaries in an industry that’s always going to be in high demand.”

The courses are specifically targeted to the generation, transmission and distribution of power.

The school already offers courses to prepare students for the engineering side, but previously lacked a track to prepare students who may want to work in the industry without going on to earn a four-year degree first.

The energy coursework will benefit students who are more interested in becoming line workers, operators at electric plants, transmission system operators, nuclear technicians or a host other positions in the electric utility industry.

Dr. Clark says taking these courses can give them a “leg up” when it comes to applying for those jobs.

Dr. Clark said this plan is beneficial in Burke County, where opportunities with Georgia Power, EMCs and other utilities are plentiful, especially considering the aging workforce in the industry.

Courses in the pathway, which is called the Generation, Transmission and Distribution Pathway, include:

• Foundations of Energy and Power Technology

• Energy and Power: Generation, Transmission and Distribution

• Energy System Applications

WHO CAN TAKE THESE?

Rising ninth and 10th graders interested in the energy industry are encouraged to contact their counselor. These students will have a chance to complete the pathway coursework before they graduate. For more information, contact BCHS counselor Regina Jordan at 706-554-6691 or Clark at 706-554-3532.

WHAT IS A “CAREER CLUSTER?”

Georgia has 18 career clusters that allow students to take classes tailored to a certain area, helping them navigate the careers related to that industry whether it be healthcare, agriculture, energy or others.

The aim is show students the relevance of what they are learning in the classroom to their future career plans, whether they want to attend college, a four-year university or go straight to work.

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