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Hardin County Schools collected input of future employers of its students for the continuing development of the Early College and Career Center.
Community members from a variety of fields discussed plans for the new center Friday in the media center at John Hardin High School. Superintendent Nannette Johnston invited them to share their insights to help with development of schematic plans for the building, which is expected to open in August 2014.
The center will feature six career pathways — health science, engineering, manufacturing, automotive technology, media arts and communication and hospitality services — for juniors and seniors in high school to study. Students can earn certifications in those fields.
The pathways will be established in different suites in the building, and each group of professionals was asked to make suggestions about what should be included.
Johnston told those in attendance flexibility of the center is vital so it can continue to adapt to changing needs in the job market.
“I tell you, we would have built a very different center five years ago than we will today,” Johnston said.
Johnston said she wanted what is used in industries to be replicated by the center. One example was the addition of a painting bay in the automotive area.
The district plans to form advisory councils made up of industry professionals to help guide the career pathways.
Sandy Peace, a nurse at Hardin Memorial Hospital, reviewed the health science suite Friday. Peace said she thought the center was “awesome.” Having early opportunities to explore careers pays off for students, she said.
“I think it’s very important to get high school kids prepared for what’s going on in the world,” Peace said.
Rich Griendling, a local sculptor, was invited to give his thoughts on the media arts and communications suite of the center. Griendling said knowing the importance of his own education compels him to help with the project.
“If I can give back a small little piece to help the next generation, why not?” he said.
The revised schematic will be brought before the HCS board Tuesday for approval.
HCS is partnering with Western Kentucky University and Elizabethtown Community and Technical College to provide opportunities at the center, which also will include earning college credit.
The center will be built next to ECTC’s campus. The proximity will allow students to attend class at ECTC, and WKU has offered to share faculty and design its own courses.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.