This is the time of year we celebrate new beginnings. Families celebrate new starts in next steps for education. And let’s be honest, have you seen anything cuter than a preschooler in a cap and gown? Do you wonder what careers the Class of 2032 will pursue?
I am so incredibly proud of our Cabarrus County high school students who are graduating the weekend of June 14! And thanks to all the hard work of their educators and administrators, I can say our students are career ready. And that can mean different things to each student. Some have earned valuable certifications and may be going directly into careers through Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Some may have the groundwork needed to pursue further certifications and degrees at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College or other community colleges. And then some have the hands-on skills and experiences they need to extend their education at four-year colleges to earn advanced degrees. But this is all due to incredibly dedicated educators and businesses who commit to helping students find their career pathways and provide the education, groundwork and resources to get started.
This week, I had the privilege of attending A L Brown High School’s Career Technical Education Signing Day, recognizing 11 young men who will be graduating from AL Brown and then go to work for Wayne Brothers in various areas of construction. These students have completed a state-certified pre-apprenticeship construction program with Wayne Brothers, that began this program two years ago in partnership with the school. The students take core classes and some CTE classes at school, and then get additional instruction and on-the-job experience from the staff at Wayne Brothers. This cohort of AL Brown students can proudly say that they had a hand in building the new Sports Entertainment Venue in the revitalized downtown Kannapolis, as they helped pour the footings. Some of them are going into construction, welding, heavy equipment operating architecture, all trades we desperately need young people trained in to follow our more experienced and aging workers.
One of the graduating students is Alex Nunez, the winner of the 2019 Apprentice of the Year Award from Apprenticeship NC, recognizing the most outstanding high school apprentice in the state of North Carolina.
We at the Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce are excited about the CTE programs in our community, the 16 career pathways they introduce to students, the partnerships they’ve developed with RCCC and the out-of-school learning opportunities they’ll get here with partnering businesses. It is our goal to continue to support these programs and connect our businesses to develop their future workforce as Wayne Brothers has done so successfully.
Barbi Jones, Executive Director
Cabarrus Regional Chamber of Commerce