New Program Helps Jackson County Students Go From Classroom To Work Force

Some coast high school students will have an easier time making the transition from the classroom to the work force thanks to a new vocational program. Jackson County is one of only eight school districts in the state teaching students what it takes to become certified computer technicians. It is the only program on the coast. Some students told Danielle Thomas that come graduation day... they'll have an edge on other job applicants.  Like many teachers Shirley Cote wants all of her students to get an "A plus" but in her computer systems technology class an "A plus" means something a little different.

"It's a certification that somebody will have that says 'Hey, I know how to work on computers. I know everything there is to know about computers'" said Cote. "A lot of jobs around the coast won't hire people unless they actually have that certification."

Jobs that Cote says will pay kids fresh out of high school $10 to $15 an hour.

William Sudduth, a junior at East Central High said "I didn't know anything about computers. I knew you hit the power button and it came on and you move the mouse and it click on stuff. That's about it."

No matter what their skill level was when they started..students are now troubleshooting, upgrading, and installing hardware. Students say they're getting an advantage whether they enter the work force or continue their education.

"When I go into college I'll be able to be more advanced on the classes and get out faster," said John Cannon of Vancleave High School.

Becoming an "A plus" certified technician isn't cheap. The test costs $120 dollars per student. Students have been holding fundraisers to help pay the expense. Right now, instructor. Cote is looking to set up a fundraiser where students work on computers in exchange for donations. If you would like to co-sponsor the event please call 826-5944.