Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando schools develop career academies geared toward harsh economy

BROOKSVILLE — Dark times create opportunities.

That's the theme guiding the next generation of career academies in Hernando County schools, as officials seek paths for graduates venturing into an uncommonly harsh job market.

Under state law, each district must offer at least one high school program designed to provide industry certification in a sector with good job prospects. Hernando County already offers four academies, in Web design, international business and marketing, veterinary sciences, and health sciences.

Springstead High School is developing a sports and entertainment marketing program, said curriculum specialist David Schoelles. Central High is focusing on early childhood education, while Nature Coast Tech is working to add culinary arts, manufacturing and engineering to its growing collection of programs. And Hernando High will unveil a career academy in mass communications and journalism.

With layoffs and a stagnant advertising market, journalism doesn't seem to compare to the thriving health care sector as a hot jobs category, Schoelles acknowledged. But call it communications and add plenty of computer skills, and the program might just position students for the jobs of the future.

"Much of what we're doing is preparing kids not for information technology jobs, but the IT skills that go with almost every job that's available now," he said.

That could mean eventually offering a version of Microsoft professional certification in all four of the district's high schools, each with a different slant. Springstead might specialize in network management, while Nature Coast focuses on the rapidly growing medical information technology angle for its health programs.

"They need people who have those skills, because all the (medical) charts are being done electronically now," Schoelles said.

About 20 students have taken advantage of the district's offer to switch high schools in order to attend a career academy, and more are expected to do so next year.

But officials say that model will be modified, with new academies open to cross-district enrollment only after an in-house trial at the sponsoring school.

And much depends on continued state funding for the career academies model. If that money disappears, the district will have to beat the bushes for additional money to pay for the industry certification exams, which cost $40 to $200 per test.

"Somebody has to pay for that somehow," Schoelles said.

But such support will only help the state emerge from its economic slump, he added.

"That's why I don't think you'll see it disappear."

Tom Marshall can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1431.

Hear about new career paths

Tonight the Hernando County school district plans to unveil at least four new career paths at a forum scheduled for 7 p.m. for students and parents at Challenger K-8 School of Science and Mathematics.

Hernando schools develop career academies geared toward harsh economy 12/08/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 8:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday


    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  2. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start


    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103
  3. Lightning buries Penguins (w/video)

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Ryan Callahan spent a lot of time last season rehabilitating his injured hip alongside Steven Stamkos, who was rehabbing a knee after season-ending surgery. During those hours, Callahan noticed two things about Stamkos: his hunger and his excitement to return this season.

    Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Slater Koekkoek (29) advances the puck through the neutral zone during the first period of Saturday???‚??„?s (10/21/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Pittsburgh Penguins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Spain planning to strip Catalonia of its autonomy


    BARCELONA, Spain — The escalating confrontation over Catalonia's independence drive took its most serious turn Saturday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain announced he would remove the leadership of the restive region and initiate a process of direct rule by the central government in Madrid.

    Demonstrators in Barcelona protest the decision to take control of Catalonia to derail the independence movement.
  5. Funeral held for soldier at center of political war of words (w/video)


    COOPER CITY — Mourners remembered not only a U.S. soldier whose combat death in Africa led to a political fight between President Donald Trump and a Florida congresswoman but his three comrades who died with him.

    The casket of Sgt. La David T. Johnson of Miami Gardens, who was killed in an ambush in Niger. is wheeled out after a viewing at the Christ The Rock Church, Friday, Oct. 20, 2017  in Cooper City, Fla. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP) FLMIH102