ARC grant to fund CCBOE vocational program technology

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Instructors in the Cullman Area Technology Academy (CATA, also known as the Career Center) health sciences program use various simulation devices to give students hands-on experience in health care tasks. (Tribune file photo)

CULLMAN – As The Tribune reported last week, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a series of educational grants for several systems in north Alabama, including the Cullman County Board of Education (CCBOE). 

Ivey announced $784,991 in Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants to support programs and purchase new equipment that will help students in six public school systems learn skills and technology needed for success in the classroom and beyond. Two grants will support science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) programs at two school systems.

“Our young students need and deserve a strong educational foundation that prepares them for success throughout their lives and in the workforce,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to support these programs which give students an invaluable opportunity to learn using the equipment, methods and practices they will likely face in their future careers.”

The CCBOE received one of the two STEAM grants in the amount of $125,000.  This is a 50/50 matching grant which will require investment of the same amount from the system.  

CCBOE Superintendent Dr. Shane Barnette commended Dr. T.J. Franey for writing the grant and helping guide it through the processes with the state and ARC.

“Our goal has to do with workforce simulation, and it is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue high-demand STEAM careers,” said Barnette. “Many of the things that we’re purchasing with this grant have to do with our nursing program up at the Career Center and our engineering program.  And then part of the grant will also provide some audio enhancement and some technology, as far as interactive boards, in several of our high schools.  But we’re really excited about that, particularly at the Career Center, in health sciences and engineering.”

Franey said, “We’re very appreciative to the ARC for the opportunities they provide through funding for our area. We’re all about preparing kids for the workforce and hoping that we provide them lots of opportunities to learn what it’s going to be like once they enter that.”

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