‘Fast Track for Industry’ Gives High School Students Career Jumpstart

This program is very important not only for Cullman County Schools but for Cullman County.”
Dan Sheets, Director of Communication for Cullman County Schools

CULLMAN – The Cullman County School Board is now offering a program to Cullman County schools, which will give high school students the opportunity of a lifetime. The program is called Fast Track for Industry and will allow students the opportunity to complete high school with not only their high school diploma, but also a two-year degree in an industrial field. This program will either be a major jump start to someone’s career or the higher education he or she may not have otherwise been able to receive. 

Thanks to Dr. Vicki Karolewics, president of Wallace State Community College, the Fast Track for Industry’s campus will be located at Wallace State in Hanceville.

Dan Sheets, director of communication for Cullman County Schools stated, “Dr. Karolewics is a big advocate of Cullman County schools so when she was approached with the idea by Superintendent Dr. Craig Ross, she was more than willing to engage in a partnership.”

Sheets explained the mechanics of the program, “Fast Track for Industry is something that dovetails into our career development center and it is now a part of Wallace State Community College. What happens is conceivably a student in the 9th or 10th grade could start in our Fast Track for Industry program and graduate high school with a two-year industrial degree from Wallace State.” 

“When we first launched this, we didn’t really know what to expect in relation to how many would be interested in getting involved, but it has met our expectations. Currently we have around a 130 students enrolled in this program for next year and the enrollment period is now closed,” he said. 

In the beginning, the Fast Track for Industry Program was just a glimmer of an idea in Superintendent Dr. Craig Ross’ mind; today it is a reality. 

This upcoming school year will be the inaugural year for the program.

The students will be taught in fields pertaining to technical, mechanical and automotive. REHAU has also gotten involved in helping Cullman youth.    

They have selected eight individual students from the Fast Track for Industry program to work in an apprenticeship program for their company.

The cost of the program is also a key attraction in that there is no expense to the student for the program.

For students who are unable to afford college, this means they can now acquire a degree and attain a successful job. 

For instance, the students who are selected for the apprenticeship at REHAU Industries and are successful will likely have secured a job there once they complete the program.

“This program is very important, not only for Cullman County schools, but for Cullman County. Especially if you look at the rate of unemployment and poverty level in Cullman County. This is a great opportunity for these kids who want to be skilled workers, who have that propensity to be in some sort of a technical, tapped welding field of some sort,” Sheets pointed out the purpose of the program. 

“It is not only for Cullman students, this program is for the Cullman community. By investing in today’s youth, we are building on tomorrow’s future. Hopefully we shall soon see the fruits of this program shooting up in every part of the county, lowering unemployment rates, the poverty level and creating a more stable economy.”