Oxford-Lafayette CTE program pushes for growth, program development

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, August 3, 2022

The Oxford-Lafayette School of Applied Technology (TECH), a vocational school that provides students with skills applicable in the workforce or post-secondary education, is seeing significant growth in numbers and is pushing to further develop its programs.

“One of the things that make us so unique is that we’re the only program in this district acreage that produces ready-made employees,” said Grant Crockett, Lafayette Schools Special Services Director. “Being cognizant of that has driven what our vision is for our Career and Technical Education program [which] is to provide our community with highly skilled and in-demand workers by providing first-class education through hands-on applications.” 

TECH offers courses on Automotive Service Technology, Construction/Carpentry, Health Science, Metal Fabrications, Programming Fundamentals and Teacher Academy.

Currently, 174 students are enrolled in the programs. Additionally, TECH has 145 Lafayette High school students and 454 Lafayette Middle school students taking CTE programs like consumer science, computer science and diversified agriculture. This brings the total number of students involved with the CTE program to 773.

“Our goal is to grow those numbers,” said Crockett. “We want to grow, grow, grow, and we’re going to be active with recruitment. We don’t meet the needs of every student, but we meet the needs of quite a few and we want to make them aware of it.”

TECH’s goal is to start with middle school and expose the children to what the school could offer them. By collaborating with middle and high school counselors, TECH could offer a CTE pathway-graduation option for students. The CTE programs are also working with local businesses for an advisory committee to help students.

The school has partnered with businesses that could offer internships to students who want to explore the field they may want to work in.

Crockett stated CTE clubs like Future Farmers of America could also make a comeback in the middle school.

However, students will not be limited to only what TECH or Lafayette’s CTE programs currently have to offer. There will be surveys where students can input what they would like to see in the CTE programs.

“We want to be aware, we want to listen to what our students have to say and listen to what our community has to say,” Crockett said. “We want to survey them as well because we want to meet the needs of our students and our community because that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The push for CTE programs is an opportunity for students to have a clearer idea of what they would like to do as a career.

“The thing is we can expose these kids who are career options and they can either say, ‘Yes, I want to do that,’ or ‘No, I don’t want to do that,’ and it may be worth saving them for six to eight years worth of education that they’ve paid for something they don’t want to do,” said Crockett. “So really, I really am excited about it.”