Second Survey to Help Choose West Ridge High’s Technical Career Programs | Local News


BLOUNTVILLE – West Ridge High School, which will open near Tri-Cities Airport in August 2021, will have nearly twice as many vocational technical education (CTE) or vocational training programs as any other high school in the region, according to county school officials.

Sullivan County Schools Principal David Cox and CTE Facilitator Aaron Flanary said West Ridge, promoted during the political debate over funding its construction as a CTE-focused comprehensive high school, will offer in does nearly 30 CTE programs, compared to about half of that number. offered today to Dobyns-Bennett of Kingsport, Tennessee High of Bristol and Science Hill of Johnson City.

Sullivan County High Schools offer 16 CTE programs to date.

“We’re going to be offering programs that no one else in the area does,” Flanary said of the school, which is expected to have around 1,650 to 1,700 students.

However, the exact list of CTE offerings is still being worked out, and a second online survey due to start in February is to help narrow down finalists to chosen programs. The first two-week survey ended on December 6.

Flanary said the February survey would help reduce the 12 finalists for new CTE programs to nine or 10. He noted that the first survey got 780 responses and he hopes 1,500 to 2,000 for the second. Unlike the first, it will be limited to one attendee per email address, and a Sullivan County address will be required.

Already in the works, 18 stand-alone CTE programs are already on lockdown, of which 16 are offered in current high schools, and two more – commercial banking and hospitality and tourism – will be in West Ridge.

That leaves a list of 12 finalists from which West Ridge’s nine or 10 new programs will be chosen. Thus, the total number of CTE programs will be 27 or 28.


Current programs from Sullivan North, South and Central are Accounting, Architectural and Engineering Design, Automotive, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Digital Arts and Design, Emergency Medical Services , STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), engineering, nursing services, horticultural sciences, mechanics, electrical, plumbing-HVAC services, coding, residential and commercial construction, welding and audiovisual production.

The latter just started at Sullivan North with a former WJHL-TV 11 employee to teach him, and Flanary said the plan is that many games and other activities at the school will be filmed and broadcast live for those who cannot be there. To make room, North will lose the coding for the next school year and a half.


The 12 finalists are automation (robotics), aerial flight, business management, cybersecurity, dental technology, fire management services, machine tool technology, mechatronics, control systems. network, pharmaceutical technology, residential electricity and supply chain management.


Flanary said that when considering the final cuts, the factors will be the expected number of job openings, expected job growth, wages, stakeholder interest (including survey results and business and industry needs), start-up costs, the difficulty of vacancies and post-secondary alignment.

The Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) has a data dashboard with CTE career information for all areas of the state, including the Tennessee First Development District region of eight counties in northeastern Tennessee.

For example, the top five career groups for salaries are information technology at $ 62,153; STEM at $ 61,203; finance at $ 52,566; government and public administration at $ 43,521; and education and training at $ 42,281.

As for the highest growth over the next 10 years, information compiled by the TSBA indicates that the top five career groups are health sciences with growth of 5,040 from the baseline of 19,400; business management and administration with a growth of 4,060 compared to the benchmark of 26,470; sales and marketing with growth of 2,030 on a baseline of 16,460; hospitality and tourism with growth of 1,980 on a basis of 18,640; and transportation, distribution and logistics with growth of 1,660 on a basis of 10,780.

And the top five career hubs in most annual openings over the next decade are hospitality and tourism at 3,584, business management and administration at 3,117, sales and marketing at 2. 502, manufacturing at 1,666 and transportation, distribution and logistics at 1,468.


Cox and Flanary, responding to questions from board members, said the increased demand for nursing is twofold: an aging population will require more nursing professionals, and as baby boomers continue to retire, replacement nurses will be needed.

BOE vice president Randall Jones asked about the grants, especially to help cover the high start-up costs of a machine tool technology program. Flanary said these and other grants will be sought.


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