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CuCPS ranked #1 in workforce readiness

Cumberland County Public Schools (CuCPS) recently received first place at the 2020 Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) Excellence in Workforce Readiness Awards ceremony.

Chip Jones

At a virtual ceremony held Thursday, July 23, CuCPS received top honors for workplace readiness in schools with less than 5,000 students, thanks in part to the school’s Career Connections and Duke’s Discover program, which CuCPS Superintendent Dr. Chip Jones said helps prepare students for the workforce by allowing them to explore careers and obtain hands-on training while in middle and high school.

According to Jones, CuCPS’ GoTec/Career Connections Lab gives students an opportunity to learn vital skills needed for high-wage, high-demand careers in fields such as welding, precision machining, automation, robotics, engineering and health sciences. The lab, Jones said, was made possible with a grant from GoVA.

He added the Dukes Discover class offered at CuCPS seeks to provide students with the skills, especially the 5 C’s (critical thinking, creative thinking, communication, collaboration and citizenship), which will enable them to get and retain excellent jobs in the fields of their choice.

The program, according to Jones, revamps high schools so that learning is no longer measured in seat time, allowing students to obtain course credits for projects they are interested in and workplace learning provided by experts in their field of interest.

Jones added the school division applied for and received High School Innovation Grants for planning and implementation of the class, which former Superintendent Dr. Amy Griffin played a crucial role in designing.

“We are very proud to offer these opportunities to our students so they can be prepared for the workforce,” Jones said. “It is very exciting to see the students explore their passions and succeed beyond what they thought possible.”

“It is excellent to see so many innovative programs surrounding workforce readiness in the commonwealth,” VSBA President Rodney Jordan stated. “Congratulations to the school divisions recognized for their hard work.”