Officials hopeful new tech program at SCS will help with craftsman shortage

WATCH: New job training program coming to 2 schools in Shelby County

SHELBY CO., Tenn. — A new opportunity for Shelby County students.

Beginning next year, seniors will have the opportunity to get certified as a craftsman while also getting their high school diplomas.

Across the country there’s a shortage of 370,000 skilled craftsmen in the building industry. That’s according to the Tennessee Builders Education Foundation, who said in west Tennessee alone that number is 1,700 workers.

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They hope that trend will change by reintroducing career technical education back in to SCS High Schools.

Shop class is back in style.

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Beginning next fall, students at Trezevant and Sheffield high schools will have the opportunity to take career tech education classes after school, working towards industry certifications.

“When our students leave us, they can walk right into a productive job,” SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray told FOX13 Tuesday.

City and county leaders were joined by Gov. Bill Lee to announce the program, which will use curriculum from the National Association of Home Builders. Addressing a nationwide shortage in home building industry craftsmen.

“There’s a shortage of those skilled laborers because we’ve left that part of public education out of our public-school curriculum for decades,” Lee said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland told the crowd at Tuesday’s press conference that workforce development is the number one challenge many communities across the country are facing.

He said this should give the Memphis/Shelby County area a leg-up on the competition.

“That four-year college, if that’s what you want to do, go for it. But for the 40 percent of students who don’t go to a four-year college, let’s train them up, get them certified, and get them out working,” Strickland told FOX13.

These courses aren’t just limited to Sheffield and Trezevant students. Other interested SCS seniors will be provided transportation.

If you’re interested in signing your child up, contact their school guidance counselor. Classes begin in August.