Could you imagine graduating high school with all of the skills necessary for your first job?
The Marion County Technical Center is helping students do just that.
"In class you just sit, read your books or you're on the computer. Out here you get to work on cars and its a simulated workplace. It's like actually being in the automotive industry and having a job," said Braxton Moore, student.
Braxton Moore is a junior in high school, but his day isn't like a typical students would be.
"In the mornings you clock in and when you leave you clock out," Moore said. "If you miss, you have to say you're going to miss a day like with a job. You call off sick. Here you have to let Mr. Boylen know through e-mail or on the phone like you would for an actual job. You have your own job positions. I'm a project manager."
The Simulated Workplace Program allows students to get the hands-on experience they wouldn't necessarily get anywhere else. Once the students graduate, they will have the skills that are necessary to land that first job.
"For example, when they are working on cars in our Automotive Technology Program its as realistic as it can be. They are actually getting work orders. They get those work orders and work on what they need to do to accomplish the task," said Ray Frazier, principal.
The Marion County Technical Center is one of 20 schools in the state to participate in the Pilot Simulated Workforce Program.
"The employers, we kind of talked to them about it and they really like the idea because its all about preparation and we want to prepare our students the best way we can to make them prepared for when they come out in the world of work," Frazier said.
Several students took it upon themselves to write a letter to the West Virginia Department of Education requesting nearly $40,000 in funds for new equipment.
"We have 16 tool cabinets with specialty tools and out of all 16 there is one cabinet with all the tools and the rest were missing. That's just a small amount of our tools that are missing. We need the newest, latest diagnostic equipment to do what we need to do successfully and to learn," Moore said.
They received a letter back from Dr. Kathy D'Antoni, Associate State Superintendent, in October granting the request.
The 20 schools participating in the pilot program will report back to the Department of Education with suggestions at the end of the year.
Principal Frazier expects more technical schools in the state to participate next year.