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Changes aim to help vocational ed
Each Bulloch high school will oversee own program
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Educators in charge of the work-based program are pictured, left to right, Glenn Bailey, Ike Hubbard, Joe Bettinger, Abbie Lacienski, Myra Lipsey and Judy McCarthy. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
     For many years the Bulloch County public school system has had a Vocational Education Division aimed at helping high school students who do not do well in a "normal" classroom environment.
     But in the coming school year, Statesboro, Southeast Bulloch and Portal high schools will each administer its own "Work Based Learning Program" on-site. Officials said it is more than a traditional vocational ed program and offers dual enrollment at Ogeechee Technical College.
     Abbie Lacienski, the coordinator for Bulloch's Career Technical and Agricultural Education Department, will oversee the program. She believes the new umbrella organization will work better and offer students more career choices.
     At Statesboro High, Dr. Glenn Bailey and Ike Hubbard will run the work-based program, which has 168 students. At Southeast Bulloch, Dr. Judy McCarthy will be in charge of the 43 students currently enrolled.
     Portal Middle/High School will have a new Work Based Learning Program run by business education teacher Myra Lipsey and counselor Joe Bettinger.
     Many students in Work Based Learning Programs become members of the Future Business Leaders of America, or Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America, or Health Occupation Students of America, or National FFA, or Skills USA (SkUS).
     In these organizations, Bulloch students regularly compete in their "professions" at regional, state and national competitions. This summer, Bulloch students will head to the National Conventions of FFA, FCCLA, HOSA and SkUS.
     While there are many businesses in the county who hire more than one student employee, many of the vocational ed students are the sole "youth apprentices" employers have. Some of the positions are paid and some are not.
     While many students seek skilled labor positions, such as in the automotive trades, some seek employment as office workers in secretarial positions, and some have gone on to find employment in the school system.
     To enroll in the Work Based Learning Program, three teachers must recommend the student and their attendance, discipline and academic records must be above average. They are then ranked according to how the coordinators think they might perform in the program.
     Each school coordinators must visit each employee's job site at least four times a year, to make certain that the employer is pleased with his or her apprentice's performance, and verify that the apprentice deserves to receive full credit for the work they have done.

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