Pinellas named a Ford NGL Community
The Pinellas County School District has been named a Ford Next Generation Learning Community, one of 17 in the country, the car manufacturer announced this morning at the annual career education breakfast.
Ford NGL communities are partnerships with school districts in which the company encourages the development of career and technical academies in existing high schools. The academies are meant to support workforce needs in the community.
A statement from the Pinellas Education Foundation, which hosted the breakfast, said the partnership will allow Pinellas to receive continuous guidance and technical assistance from the Ford team, tap into the Ford national network for peer mentoring, online resources and webinars, and "leverage the Ford NGL designation to encourage economic development for the region."
Foundation members, school board members and representatives from Ford NGL toured several Pinellas high schools Tuesday, spotlighting career academies at Northeast High, Pinellas Park High and Lakewood High. (We dropped by Northeast High, which has a full-service credit union branch run by students, and the culinary students are soon to get a new cooking area and restaurant.)
Awards also were given out at the breakfast. Honorees included:
*Joe Sleppy, a senior at Osceola Fundamental High, who was recognized for creating workout equipment for veterans who have had a limb amputated. One piece of equipment uses airbag compression to hold a person by their forearms, which should alleviate strain on the wrists. Sleppy is getting $10,000 to start a business.
The 2013 Career Educator of the Year was Debra Fischer, director of the finance academy at Northeast High. She gets a $2,000 classroom grant. The Frances Stavros Career Education Champion Award was presented to Alex McKenna, president of McKenna Group International.
Academies of Pinellas Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to:
1st Place: Northeast High School, $5,000 award
2nd Place: Clearwater High School, $3,000 award
3rd Place: Boca Ciega High School, $2,000 award