- January 8, 2020
From accounting to welding, the School District of Lee County’s Career and Technical Academies program offers a prescription for an understaffed trade and technical workforce. In all, there are 33 career academies spread throughout high schools in Lee County, offering students in each attendance zone a magnet-style option to college preparatory education.
Now comes something new: this summer, for the first time in the program’s history, 12 rising seniors in the Medical Academy at Cape Coral High School will shadow pharmacists at Walgreen’s stores. Each will earn 60 hours of field experience, which will apply toward their state certification.
Some programs are available at every school. Others that require expensive equipment — automotive repair, for example — are available at one school in each attendance zone. The goal is to produce high school graduates ready to enter the workforce at no cost to the student. “Students have access to industry certifications for careers from nurses’ assistant to digital designer,” Adult and Career Education Director Rita Davis tells Coffee Talk.
Lisa Wright, a registered nurse and the program’s health sciences coordinator, says the 12 pharmacy students have completed three of the four years of education required to graduate with the requisite certification to work at a pharmacy. This summer’s internship is a key active ingredient of that certification.
“When they successfully complete the certification program they will be able to go to an entry-level position in a pharmacy,” Wright tells Coffee Talk. “There is a lab in the school where they compound, prepare every type of medication, learn medical math, infection control, biohazard waste and more.”
Other career and technical education programs include construction, culinary arts, engineering, firefighting, outboard marine service technology, television production and web development.