Cleveland High tech academies offer cutting-edge career skills

Posted 6/16/18


Staff Writer

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Cleveland High tech academies offer cutting-edge career skills


Staff Writer

Cleveland City Schools supervisor of career and technical education supervisor Renny Whittenbarger told members of the Rotary Club of Cleveland during a recent luncheon that students must acquire technical, as well as academic skills, to succeed in today’s competitive job market.

Whittenbarger oversees career technical education for the school district. 
Whittenbarger said Career Technical Programs will help Cleveland students excel in their future careers.

“We need for our nation to be more competitive,” Whittenbarger said. “Students who graduate with technical skill sets will be more employable. They will leave school certified in a technical field.” The robotics program is just one example of the school’s goal to teach technical skills that will enable students to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real world applications. 

According to Whittenbarger, there are several programs that students can enter, including business, cosmetology, criminal justice, culinary arts, digital and media, engineering, health science, aviation and robotics. Each program is listed as an academy in which students sign up to attend.
After graduation, Whittenbarger said students can take what they have learned at the high school level and transfer their skills through several academic pathways.

“They can choose technical college, community college or a university,” Whittenbarger said.

The Robotic Academy, which is a hands-on program that teaches students about the robotics and engineering fields, consists of four courses with topics that include agriscience, mechatronics, computer science and engineering. In addition, students can apply their knowledge through, according to the CHS Robotics Academy course description, “hands-on activities, real world projects and individual project paths.” In addition, students can receive dual credit at Cleveland State Community College. Another program, the Automotive Academy, also offers certification.
“It’s a lot more than just twisting wrenches,” Whittenbarger said. “They will also work with computers and specialized equipment.”

Under the automotive program, students will learn maintenance and light repair, safety, tool use, shop operations, basic engine fundamentals and basic technician skills. Additional courses will offer advanced topics such as maintenance and light repair, as well as learning about batteries, lighting, HVAC systems, engine performance systems and automatic, as well as manual transmissions. At the conclusion of each course, students may take an Automotive Service Excellence National Certification Exam.

Whittenbarger said the Health Science Academy has also been a popular program at CHS, with 31 percent of CTE students enrolled in the Academy during the 2013-14 academic year. He said demand for such training is increasing.
“I think the thing that puts them over the peak and have that ‘aha moment’ is when they see the application of what they have learned in class,” Whittenbarger said. “They see it in reality. The academic integration is hands on and it drives their decision to enter the field.”
For more information, visit the Cleveland High School website at:, then click academics, departments of study and CTE.


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