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Students speak to school board on Career Connections Lab

Students enrolled in the Career Connections class at Cumberland County Middle School (CMS) spoke to school board members at the October school board meeting about the work they were doing in the Career Connections Lab.

The class, new to CMS this year, is part of an initiative endorsed by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to promote career and technical education.

According to the VDOE, “Career Connections is the area designed to help students prepare for careers and continuing education in a challenging and rapidly changing workplace. This service area provides connecting links for students in pursuit of career development and related career information resources.

Connecting links include pathways, program models or processes that lead to, or point the way to, career goals. The total concept of Career Connections includes the components of career information resources, career development and career connecting links.”

In the Career Connections Lab, students rotate through modules such as welding, precision machining, automation & robotics and health sciences.

The Lab contains equipment including a welding simulator and a 3-D printer, as well as coding software. The Lab, which was paid for primarily through a Growth Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grant, provides students an opportunity to learn skills that will lead to high demand, high wage jobs.

During the school board meeting, students shared their experiences and thoughts about the Career Connections Lab. They were accompanied by the Lab instructor, Evan Jones.