State, federal officials visit Tolsia High School
FORT GAY -- Two officials with the U.S. Department of Labor and several with Workforce West Virginia visited Tolsia High School on Aug. 19, to see Hugh Robert's carpentry class in action.
Roberts, who received the national Excellence in Action Award in the spring, boasts the top simulated workplace program in the state.
His students, through Rebel Construction, spoke to members of the West Virginia Board of Education in February about the success of the statewide pilot program, which has since expanded to other Career and Technical Education programs in Wayne County.
Simulated Workplace is a project in which CTE programs are operated as a business to better prepare students for business and industry environments.
In a simulated workplace, instruction doesn't change. It's simply a new way of documenting student knowledge and skill sets within an authentic work setting, while also replicating proper business and industry processes and procedures.
It also adds a new layer of accountability and allows for the development of more purposeful relationships with local and regional businesses. It also includes a time clock for students and random drug testing.
The pilot projects were partially funded by grants from the Department of Labor and Workforce West Virginia, and officials wanted to see the outcomes.
Stephen Duval, the chief for the Division of Workforce Investment, and Derrick Dolphin, who works with the Federal Project Office, both said they were impressed with the students' work and knowledge.
"The students are engaged with hands-on education," Duval said.
Russell Fry, the executive director for Workforce West Virginia -- and also a Wayne County native -- said simulated workplace provides a tremendous opportunity for students to learn not only skills related to their trade but also for working in the industry.
"The goal is to expose more of our young people to different skills and occupations that are so valuable for earning good living wages in West Virginia," Fry said. "We believe this gives (students) a real experience of what it's like to go to work."
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