A vocational high school in the works for New Hanover County has gotten some major backing from state lawmakers.
The local district announced last week the N.C. House of Representatives included a $1 million grant for the career-technical education (CTE) campus, which could begin welcoming students as early as August 2017. The money has been earmarked for planning and design phases of the project, according to a New Hanover County Schools spokeswoman.
The oft-discussed CTE concept is one that has been particularly advocated and promoted by Rep. Ted Davis, a Republican who represents the county.
“New Hanover County Schools is very grateful for the state funding and the support that it will provide for our regional CTE high school,” Superintendent Dr. Tim Markley said. “Rep. Davis and Speaker of the House Tim Moore understand our desire to plan and build a vocational high school that will be unique to our region, as well as eastern North Carolina.”
The school is a joint venture involving Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) and Pender County Schools. Earlier this year, all parties involved met to discuss the timeline moving forward and evaluate potential sites, one of which is CFCC’s northern campus, a location that would accommodate students from both New Hanover and Pender.
Though not required, New Hanover county commissioners gave an official thumbs-up to the plan earlier this year. That kind of unsolicited support, along with the recent state backing, tells board member Lisa Estep that the community is ready for a CTE high school. Estep is also co-chairwoman of the district’s CTE high school committee.
Shaped by local demand for skilled, workforce-ready employees, the CTE school will provide hands-on training in a variety of fields, including mechanics, construction, hospitality, food service and public safety. Enrolled students will also have the option of taking CFCC courses in their chosen career path while still in high school.
“The development of a CTE high school will provide students an alternative to college and the opportunity to complete high school with skills needed to be successful in today’s workforce,” said New Hanover County Board of Education chairman Don Hayes.