College and career readiness take center stage at education summit in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — ‘Ready’ is the keyword at Wednesday’s West Virginia Education Summit, according to Amelia Courts.

Courts, the president and chief executive officer of The Education Alliance, headlines the summit in Charleston in partnership with the WV Ready Graduate program in Charleston.

Dr. Amelia Courts

The WV Ready Graduate program is a statewide program that prepares high school students for college and careers. Courts appeared on a recent episode of MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and said this is about giving young students a spark to know they can have long, successful careers they enjoy.

“When you talk to students, a lot of them don’t have a clear picture of the kinds of opportunities that are out there in our state and often they also don’t know the steps they need to take to get those jobs,” Courts said.

The summit kicked off with a WV Ready Graduate Panel including leaders from Mylan, Dow, WV Hospital Association, and Ritchie County Schools.

Students from Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Upshur County; Future Leaders Program, Putnam County; George Washington High School, Kanawha County; Hannan High School, Mason County; Herbert Hoover High School, Kanawha County; Oak Hill High School, Fayette County, and Westside High School, Wyoming County all participated in a student expo and their own forum discussing innovation in schooling.

Courts said a lot of the innovation comes from internships and apprenticeships, which the WV Ready Graduate program features.

“We have to think about our middle and high school students and these create that passion and vision that they can get these jobs,” she said.

“They can experience having these kinds of internships and these apprenticeships, which are a driving factor in helping students choose career pathways.”

Toyota was the pilot internships program for WV Ready Graduate, which was later picked up by Appalachian Power and Cabell Huntington Hospital. Students received a paid internship that lasted four weeks this past summer at those companies.

“This idea of helping our students envision the opportunities and having an experience that will excite them and prepare them for their future,” Courts said.

According to Courts, the program also teaches the importance of math and science. A program release said those skills result in financial literacy, career readiness, personal self-confidence and wellness, strong work ethic, inclusiveness and open-mindedness, innovative problem-solving, planning, organization and self-direction, and appropriate technical skills based on an individual’s chosen career path.

The program’s website, which launched on October 15, has resources for educators, students and families, and businesses.

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