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Stakeholders want Gainesville students prepared for the workforce. This is their plan to make that happen
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Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Williams speaks Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, as the school system unveils the district’s workforce development plan. - photo by Scott Rogers

High school is traditionally four years and afterward there are four choices. 

“You go straight into the workforce, you go into the military, you go to a technical or certificate program or you go to a four-year school,” Jamie Green, Gainesville High School’s principal, said. “Each are important. Each are valid. Each have value.”

On Friday, Dec. 13, Gainesville City Schools unveiled its workforce development needs assessment and plan, which lists priorities and strategies to help educate students to be successful post-graduation. 

It was developed by a committee of school system employees, local business leaders and those working in post-secondary education. Through the help of the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government, the school system was able to narrow down the ideas into a feasible plan. 

Gainesville Superintendent Jeremy Williams said the plan calls the adults in the district to inspire, nurture, challenge and prepare students for their futures. 

“In the end, we want our students to be successful,” Williams said. “All of this culminates into our short-term and long-term plans. I’m excited because No. 1, it has been a collective effort of everybody.”

Here’s a breakdown of the plan.

Goals for students

Priority 1: Develop aligned career road maps for all students that include career exploration, soft skills development, career counseling and other options following graduation.

Short-term strategies:

  • Continue to assess the pathways offered at Gainesville High School so they align with the classes offered at Gainesville Middle School and the system’s elementary schools. This also includes making sure that post-secondary partnerships and employers reflect the course offerings in Gainesville schools.

  • Establish a cross-functional team to articulate what steps students can follow to reach their career goals. These steps include Work-Based Learning, dual enrollment and post-secondary options. 

Long-term strategies:

  • Increase marketing and outreach to the community, students, parents and other influencers. 

  • Develop feedback processes and formal agreements among partners to institutionalize the efforts.

Goals for teachers and staff

Priority 2: Encourage teachers and staff to be adaptive educators who ensure all students are prepared for the workforce prior to graduation.

Short-term strategies:

  • Develop a plan to merge the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports system, which is used to teach students how to behave, with soft skills and the four Rs — ready, respectful, responsible and role model. 

  • Make sure connections are made between teachers who have core classes like math and science, and Career, Technical and Agricultural Education teachers who have classes like computer technology and manufacturing.

Long-term strategies:

  • Increase opportunities for teachers to participate in summer externships, field trips and other professional learning activities to see what industry looks like on a local level.

  • Establish formal processes and additional opportunities for students to learn more about careers at all grade levels. 

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