CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A senior at John Marshall High School in Marshall County, Brittany Smith could already have a career in agriculture immediately after graduation if she wanted.
Thanks to the Career Technical Education program, Smith was able to take classes for three years in agricultural sciences in addition to her normal high school curriculum.
“I’ve taken intro to agriculture, horticulture, landscape and design and greenhouse where I’ve been a greenhouse manager,” Smith said. “But I’m not going into anything agriculture-related, but I can get a job in the ag field immediately.”
Smith was one of more than 400 CTE students being honored at the 2nd Annual Governor’s Workforce Credential Ceremony at the West Virginia Culture Center Theater on Monday.
Smith, for example, is also OSHA 10 certified due to her classes in agriculture, and she passed a pesticides applicator test which allows her to work with pesticides anywhere. She will be attending West Liberty University.
Caleb Glandon is a senior at Buffalo High School in Putnam County and is nearly a certified firefighter after going through his CTE classes.
“I belong to three fire departments actually — two Putnam County and one in Nicholas County as well,” he said.
Glandon has been working as a volunteer fireman, and he will be heading off to college in the fall.
“West Virginia Wesleyan, double majoring in history and political science, and then hopefully going to law school. We’ll see how that goes,” he said.
Students could take business courses through the program, which is what Alex Haught, a senior at John Marshall High School, did for four years. This led her to want to pursue a career in accounting.
While Haught could get a job after high school with her business experience, she plans on attending Wheeling Jesuit University.
“I still need college time, but I can get closer to my goal through that, because I do have experience,” she said.
Rachel Boring of Wheeling, another student being awarded the credential, said, “I’ve been working for this since the beginning of our senior year on our portfolios, and I’m really excited to be here, because I love being at the Capitol, and I love Charleston.”
Kathy D’Antoni, assistant state superintendent of schools, said all of the students have special skills. “These students not only have the technical skill sets that are required to get a job, but they have the academic and the soft skill sets,” she said.
D’Antoni said that the students understand how to work in teams and problem solve, as well as think critically.
“These kids have run their own companies for the last two years,” she said. “They’re fantastic young people.”
The students receiving the workforce credential are among the top graduates this year, according to D’Antoni, and she said she hopes that prospective employers ask about the honor.
“They’re our future in West Virginia,” D’Antoni said.
Story by Jordyn Johnson