SVHEC launches career tech academy

Published 9:23 am Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Southern Virginia Higher Education Center (SVHEC) announced the launch of its newest initiative, the Career Tech Academy (CTA).

According to a press relase, “The Career Tech Academy is a hands-on, regional technical training center located at the SVHEC available to high school students from Charlotte, Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties. Initially, the Career Tech Academy will offer two career tracks – Information Technology (IT) or Mechatronics.

Participating high school students may earn community college credits, a Career Studies Certificate and an industry endorsed credential. Through the CTA, students will have access to technical training that leads to well-paying, in-demand jobs in the region. Recruitment efforts were launched in the spring, and initial student interest is strong.”

Dr. Betty Adams, SVHEC Executive Director stated, “Increasing requirements are being placed on public schools to provide Career & Technical Education (CTE), but CTE programs are expensive to operate and maintain. Rural public schools in particular have limited resources to fund costly CTE equipment, materials and teachers. Without the access provided through the CTA, rural students are likely to be deprived of access to training that leads to well-paying, in-demand information technology and advanced manufacturing jobs in the region.”

The Career Tech Academy’s IT track will provide instruction in hardware repair, installing and configuring operating systems, security and virtualization, and will prepare students to earn the nationally recognized CompTIA A+ and Server+ certifications.

“The CTA Mechatronics program integrates knowledge of mechanical, electrical, computer, and software/control engineering. Students will receive instruction in electrical circuits and theory, electrical drawing, residential wiring, programmable logic controls (PLCs), hydraulics and pneumatics. Successful students will have an opportunity to earn the internationally recognized Siemens Level 1 Mechatronics certification,” the release stated.

Through the SVHEC’s partnership with Southside Virginia Community College, CTA programs will be offered as dual enrollment courses, allowing students to receive high school and college credits. If students complete all requirements, they will also earn a Career Studies Certificate.

David Kenealy, the SVHEC’s Special Assistant for Research & Development, has been tasked with overseeing the development and launch of the Career Tech Academy. Kenealy stated, “The level of learning associated with current and emerging technologies found within the workplace quickly becomes sophisticated, and the technologies continuously and rapidly evolve. Considering this, building robust technical and applied instruction for the K-12 student population is critically important. This approach establishes a foundation of relevant learning and prepares these students for an ongoing pathway of success (educational and workplace). We are privileged to serve in this way.”

CTA classes will begin August 2018 for juniors and seniors at Randolph-Henry High School (Charlotte County), Halifax County High School, and Bluestone High School (Mecklenburg County). For more information, visit www. or contact David Kenealy at (434) 572-5557 or email david