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When Gov. Steve Beshear signed an executive order Tuesday to place all the technical centers under the same Department of Education umbrella as the career and technical programs within high schools, many wondered how the move would affect the Shelby County Area Technology Center on Rocket Lane.
In short, it likely won’t change a thing.
“There really won’t be any changes in the day-to-day operations,” said Dale Winkler, the executive director of the new office of career and technical education. “By putting everything under the Kentucky Department of Education, it allows us to align our resources and align our curriculum because a lot of it is the same for career and technical education and the area technology centers. And now we can align all the requests we get from business and industries.”
The change was mostly inspired by the emphasis Kentucky’s leaders are putting on producing career and college ready students.
“This way we can better integrate the academic requirements within the technical curriculum,” Winkler said. “That’s something that employers have been stressing as very important for a long time. They want that English, math and history background along with the technical side.”
Winkler said the biggest changes would be made in Frankfort.
“We’ll be able to consolidate some offices,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is going to be let go, but as people retire some of those positions won’t be filled.”
Some of those administration changes will trickle down, Winkler said.
“The school and area centers won’t see changes – maybe some administration type things, like the way they purchase items or something like that – but they will continue to operate like they are. I don’t see any major changes in the way we operate the schools.”
About 75 percent of Kentucky’s students received some technical or career education last year, either through 270 middle or high school locations with technical schools or through one of 55 area technology centers like Shelby County’s.
The Shelby County ATC serves about 850 students from Shelby County schools, Henry County and Eminence in seven different technical programs.