A small group recently traveled far—across an ocean and a country—to attend Golden Isles College and Career Academy.
The delegation from Hawaii visited the vocational academy, met trainers and students and tried out various laboratory equipment.
They haven’t traveled more than 4,500 miles just to walk the halls of GICCA. The trip to Glynn County followed a National Career Academy Coalition conference in Atlanta earlier this month.
“I’m originally from Glynn County,” said Barry Harris, an educator who traveled with the delegation. “I live in Hawaii now, and I’ve lived there for about eight years. After a few years out there, I started working at Castle High School, a preparatory school in the area, and we started a vocational school.”
The career academy at James. B Castle High School on Oahu, unlike GICCA, is located on the high school campus.
Located in a large facility on Glynco Parkway, the local career academy has a variety of labs for numerous pathways including culinary, engineering, construction, vehicle repair and more.
“Because I still have connections here and I knew that this delegation was going to come to Atlanta for the conference, I said, ‘Hey, why don’t we get together and come over here for the careers academy?” Hill said.
The group of six drove from Atlanta to Brunswick and spent a few days visiting GICCA and Glynn Academy, where they learned more about how Glynn County Schools approach work-based learning.
They happened to be on campus the day GICCA was hosting a tape average for its new heavy equipment simulator. The ceremony had been postponed due to a hurricane threat the week before.
The career academy strongly demonstrates how to work with industry partners and offer course offerings locally, Hill said.
A similar approach is followed at the Hawaii School, although some of the industry’s requirements are different. Much attention is also paid to students’ learning interests, he said.
“We’re starting to design programs around it,” he said.
Each community’s version of a career academy must meet a unique set of challenges based on the needs of residents, said Bernie Tyrell, Principal of Castle High School.
“The challenge of living in Hawaii is the high cost of living, so we really need to make sure that we are addressing the high demand, high paying, high quality jobs to prepare our students to make a decent wage and be able to to have the lifestyle they want,” she said. “We also want them to stay in Hawaii because many of them will relocate if an opportunity arises.”
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