Certifications earned by students continues trend of improvement in Hamilton County Schools
Posted on 06/25/2019
Marie Holland welds in the Welding Program at Sequoyah HighAdd the number of certifications earned by high school students in Hamilton County Schools to the list of improvements for the 2018-2019 school year. The number of students earning an industry certification more than tripled from last school year with 224 earned this year by high school students. Industry certifications allow graduates to leave high school with a certification for a job skill in the career field of choice for a graduating senior. The certification puts the graduate at a competitive advantage when looking for a job or entering a post-secondary training program.

Certifications by Year
(2016-2017) 48 Certifications earned at five schools
(2017-2018) 61 Certifications earned at five schools
(2018-2019) 224 Certifications earned at 11 schools

The five-year strategic plan Future Ready 2023 adopted last year focused improvement on more students taking early post-secondary options and earning industry certifications. Studies show that students who take early post-secondary options and earn industry certifications are more likely to enroll in a post-secondary program and more likely to complete a program of study.

“We want to make sure our graduates are prepared for success after high school and that we provide them opportunities to leave school with a plan for their future with access to these programs,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “A major priority of our strategic plan is to provide access to advanced courses, dual enrollment options, and industry certifications and it is an area of investment in the proposed budget for next school year.”

The proposed budget under consideration by the County Commission includes additional funding to guarantee every student in the district the ability to complete up to five early post-secondary opportunities while in high school at no cost to the student’s family. The availability will not only save money with college credit already earned while in high school but will also provide more opportunities for success for graduates as they enter college prepared for success. The focus on early post-secondary is a key part of the new Hamilton County Promise. The pledge to the community includes more technology to make sure each student in grades six through twelve has an electronic learning device. A full-time college and career advisor available in every high school is also part of the promise, along with making sure students are Future Ready with access to Future Ready Institutes in our high schools as well as internship programs like Gestamp, VW Akademie, and Polytech.

The budget currently being considered by the County Commissioners includes approximately $10 million in additional investment to provide more access to advanced courses, dual enrollment, improved technology, college and career advisors, digital fabrication labs, improved access to STEM, innovative learning programs, and industry certifications for students. The action area Future Ready Students in the Future Ready 2023 five-year action plan includes how the district will address better preparing graduates for success after high school. There is also a Focus Five performance target in the plan that includes additional AP and dual enrollment opportunities. The increased opportunity for teens to take advanced courses will allow more future graduates to walk across the stage with five or more advanced courses, dual enrollment classes, or industry certifications.

Marie Holland, a 2019 graduate of Sequoyah High, is one student starting a bright career after high school. Holland is the only female in her welding class, but she left high school with a job offer in hand from Heatec, a local company that manufactures and markets a broad line of heaters and liquid storage tanks. Holland participated in an internship at Heatec in high school, and her work ethic and skill earned her a full-time job upon graduation.

“Welding stood out to me because I was looking for something that I would enjoy for a career,” said Holland. “I want to enjoy where I work and what I do because if you do not enjoy what you do, it is work to you.”

Photo: Marie Holland welds in the Welding Program at Sequoyah High

YouTube Video of Marie Holland