Picture credit - KPTM

 The Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) awarded more than $1.1 million to rural school districts to equip their Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) labs.

The funds were awarded to four rural districts in South Georgia schools in Dougherty, McIntosh, Pierce, and Tift counties.  The money will support  15 CTAE labs. Each lab will provide learning experiences in high-demand fields such as healthcare sciences, mechatronics, distribution and logistics, film, and agriculture.

“Schools need hands-on, out-of-the-box, up-and-out-of-the-desk learning if they’re going to be prepared for the jobs of the future – and if our communities are going to have the workforce they need to thrive,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “Education is an essential piece of the rural renaissance our state so desperately needs. These funds support a rapid-response education system that expands opportunities for middle and high school students, and is swiftly responsive to local industry needs. It’s our job to make that happen for every student, in every school.”

The FastTrack grants were launched last year and fund Construction Related Equipment (CRE) grant funds which are awarded in the middle of the fiscal year to support school districts in equipping new CTAE labs. These districts are able to open their labs six months ahead of schedule, while meeting all qualifications for CRE grant funding.

“We are using the equipment to train our students in skills to take advantage of Georgia’s high-demand STEM careers,” said Rob Collins, CEO of NEOS Technologies – a business partner to Dougherty County Schools. “This is allowing us to build our future workforce.”

Craig Matthews, CTAE Director for Tift County Schools, said it’s important for students to be knowledgeable and experienced with the equipment used in modern business and industry.

“The Fast Track funds are vital in preparing our future workforce,” Matthews said.

2018 FastTrack Grant Recipients

System/School Program/Labs
Dougherty County Schools: Commodore Conyers College and Career Academy Health Science Multi-Use Lab
Health Science Multi-Use Lab
Mechatronics Lab
Distribution and Logistics Lab
Graphics Design Lab
Audio/Video Technology & Film Lab
Engineering Technology Multi-Use Lab
Flight Operations
Marketing Multi-Use Lab
   
McIntosh County Schools: McIntosh County Academy Audio/Video Technology & Film Lab
   
Pierce County Schools: Pierce County Middle School Middle School Agriculture Lab
   
Tift County Schools: Tift County High School Health Science Multi-Use Lab
Health Science Multi-Use Lab
Agriculture Mechanics Lab
Agriculture Multi-Use Lab
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