Boot camp trains students for jobs: Pitt County Schools hosting first Summer Career Accelerator programs – Daily Reflector

Boot camp trains students for jobs: Pitt County Schools hosting first Summer Career Accelerator programs – Daily Reflector

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Updated: June 24, 2022 @ 8:43 am
Jenilka Marrero, Shaniya Howard, Kayla Littlejohn, and South Central High School food and nutrition teacher Morgan Hazelwood, above, prepare bacon, brioche french toast and butter syrup during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday.
Scarlet Bean, and twins Andrew and Allie Knight-Hyatt, make waffle batter with a mixer during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
At left, Shaniya Howard cracks an egg into a bowl during the culinary class on Thursday.
Kayla Littlejohn whisks butter syrup over a stove during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts practices using an epipen on South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Andrew Knight-Hyatt uses a ladle to pour batter into a waffle iron during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.

Jenilka Marrero, Shaniya Howard, Kayla Littlejohn, and South Central High School food and nutrition teacher Morgan Hazelwood, above, prepare bacon, brioche french toast and butter syrup during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday.
Scarlet Bean, and twins Andrew and Allie Knight-Hyatt, make waffle batter with a mixer during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
At left, Shaniya Howard cracks an egg into a bowl during the culinary class on Thursday.
Kayla Littlejohn whisks butter syrup over a stove during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts, right, practices wrapping a bandage around South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell’s arm during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Savannah Roberts practices using an epipen on South Central High School Health Sciences teacher Pamela Harrell during a Summer Career Accelerator class on health care at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Andrew Knight-Hyatt uses a ladle to pour batter into a waffle iron during a culinary Summer Career Accelerator class at J.H. Rose High School on Thursday, June 23.
Just 10 days after finishing her sophomore year of high school, Kayla Littlejohn reported for basic training. Though too young to be a military recruit, this teen is old enough to join the workforce, which is why she is spending part of her summer at a credentialing boot camp for high school students.
The rising J.H. Rose High School junior is among about 150 Pitt County Schools students to enlist in the district’s first Summer Career Accelerator, which is designed to help them rev up their job skills. The eight-day program is being hosted at six area high schools where about 450 students also are working to make up credits they missed receiving during the school year.
Open to any high school student, this month’s Summer Career Accelerator offers participants a chance to gain employment credentials to work in health care, automotive or food service industries. Career and Technical Education Director Beth Ann Trueblood said the program, which is beginning across the state this year, aims to help students recover from credentialing opportunities lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“During COVID, some of our students got behind and were not able to take the credential for some of the courses they took,” she said. “These credentials are really important and help our students get their foot in the door and help them get pay raises.”
In the 2018-19 school year, Pitt County Schools’ students earned 5,647 credentials such as Automotive Service Excellence, Certified Nursing Assistant and Python Programming certification. The following year, students in the district had earned more than 3,100 credentials by the time schools were forced to close due to the pandemic. In the 2020-21 school year, when at least part of the instruction was delivered virtually, there were fewer than 2,500 credentials earned.
With about $400,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, Pitt County Schools will spend the next two summers trying to help students make up for lost time.
Littlejohn took an introductory culinary arts class her freshman year at Rose, when she was a full-time virtual student, but she never earned a certification. After completing the second level course on campus this year, she decided to enroll in Career Accelerator Academy to prepare to test for her Safe Serve certification.
“I didn’t know you could do certifications like this because that was my first year of high school when we were virtual,” she said. “This is really going to make it stick. When you’re really applying it, it’s better.”
Instructor Carrie Overby, who has taught culinary arts courses at Rose for 17 of her 27 years as an educator, is helping to prepare students for the 90-question test they will attempt next week. Until then, they will have daily lessons in topics such as proper hand-washing, safe food temperatures, cross-contamination, cleaning and pest management.
For students like Littlejohn, Summer Career Accelerator is a review. But others have come for their first culinary class, where they are preparing chicken and creating desserts such as dirt cake and banana pudding.

“We’re doing something (cooking) every day,” Overby said. “We’ll do half of the day class and the other half in the kitchen.”
Down the hall at Rose, South Central High School health science teacher Pamela Harrell is teaching a course in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation to students from Rose and South Central, which is not serving as a host site this summer.
“A requirement for seniors is when they graduate they have to be CPR certified,” Harrell said. “A lot of times if you go to certain jobs, they require you to be CPR certified. It’s something that’s good to have.”
Savannah Roberts, a rising senior at South Central, has had exposure to basic CPR skills but is working for the next several days to earn her Basic Life Support certification.
In addition to learning skills they need for certifications, students will receive instruction in more general skills, such as creating a resume, interviewing and writing a proper email.
“What we’re seeing and what we’re hearing from our business partners is that our students do not have those soft skills that are so important,” Trueblood said. “They have the basic reading and math and science. What they’re not receiving is (how to make) eye-to-eye contact, how to communicate, how to work as a team.”
Soft skills training also will be part of Summer Career Accelerator for middle schools, to be held next month.
Because many middle-schoolers are too young to earn credentials, the program for that age group will be incorporated into the summer school instruction being offered Mondays through Thursdays from July 11-28.
During their 12 days of summer school, students in grades six through eight also will participate in STEM instruction and will receive exposure to various careers.
“This is just an extension of what we teach every year to prepare our kids for that next step, whether it is going to the military going to school or going to work,” Trueblood said. “This is just an extension of what we do in Career and Technical Education. We prepare them for that next step.”
Contact Kim Grizzard at [email protected] or call 329-9578.

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