One of the pillars of Gov. Pat McCrory’s plan for schools is education that teaches skills employers want. He visited Beddingfield High School last Friday to hear about plans for the Wilson Academy of Applied Technology, which will focus on just such skills.
“Wilson gets it,” McCrory said in a Wilson Times article. “You’re going to beat the competition and make my job easier.”
The Wilson Academy of Applied Technology will be a five-year program at Beddingfield High where students take courses aimed at jobs like maintenance mechanics or other manufacturing work.
Wilson Industry officials are, in part, writing the curriculum and school officials are asking them to donate equipment that can help sharpen students’ skills. By bringing the factory experience to the school, leaders in the school and local industries hope students will be better equipped for practical work after graduation.
The school will also work with community colleges, and students will graduate not just with a high school diploma, but also a two-year associate’s degree in applied science.
McCrory’s plan for education includes possible funding shifts that could award dollars based on whether community colleges and state universities actually yield jobs for graduates. He said that these shifts in economic focus will help schools like the Wilson Academy of Applied Technology.
McCrory also says he thinks the Wilson Academy will help bring auto-manufacturing to the area. The Rocky Mount-based Golden LEAF Foundation has pledged $50 million to help bring such manufacturers to North Carolina. They also have pledged $750,000 to the Wilson Academy, funds which the school district must match.