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Cullman County Schools and Wallace State Announce New Fast Track for Industry Program for High School Students

Cullman County Schools in partnership with Wallace State Community College is pleased to announce the expansion of the Fast Track program to include Fast Track for Industry.
Growing workforce demands have spurred the need for quality, skilled workers in industry‐ related careers.

The Cullman Area Career Center will expand its program to include classes on the Wallace State campus and will focus on college and career pathways through integration of academic, career
technical, and workforce experiences. This will provide opportunities for students to attend the Cullman Area Career Center in earlier grades and will provide additional training to ensure
students are well prepared for successful employment in industry‐related fields.

“This is phase one of a larger vision that we hope to bring to Cullman County students,” said Dr. Craig Ross, Cullman County Schools Superintendent. “I am very excited about this opportunity
for our students and very appreciative of our strong relationship with Wallace State Community College. Thanks to Dr. Karolewics for helping us make this vision a reality.”
The Fast Track for Industry program will focus on students in grades 11 and 12, while the Cullman Area Career Center located at Vinemont will expand its program to include students in
grades 9 through 12.

“This is a shining example of a perfect partnership designed with the end in mind; that is, transitioning motivated young adults through postsecondary education and training and into
the workforce more quickly. Everyone wins," said Dr. Vicki Karolewics, Wallace State President. "Business and industry have ready access to a middle skills workforce. Parents save money on
higher education tuition. Students complete their postsecondary education earlier and, as they enter the workforce sooner, the state gains taxpayers that contribute to a sound economic
base. At Wallace State, our strategic plan is Readiness3, assuring that our students are Ready for college, Ready for work and Ready for life by helping students start early, start right, finish,
and succeed."

The program allows students to jump‐start their future by compressing their time spent in high school and college by taking rigorous college courses that allow students to receive both high
school and college credit. Students will earn college credits towards an industry recognized credential and may qualify for free tuition through Career/Tech Dual Enrollment tax credit‐
funded scholarships available for qualified career technical programs.

Dr. Susan Patrick, Secondary Curriculum Coordinator for Cullman County Schools, said, “Fast Track for Industry is a tremendous opportunity for Cullman County students. We are excited to
offer our students another avenue by which to become college and career ready. This partnership with local industries and Wallace State is a benefit for everyone in Cullman County.”
One of the goals of the program is to create a smooth transition into postsecondary education through the integration of more rigorous academic preparation and career technical courses
focused on industry‐related careers. The curriculum will include opportunities for workforce experiences such as job‐shadowing and apprenticeships.

A direct result of this program will be: increased graduation rate, mastery of skills and knowledge in industry‐related fields, opportunities for intensive training and work experiences
in an industry setting, opportunities to earn an industry‐related credential, enhanced educational opportunities in non‐traditional settings, and an increased number of prepared and
skilled employees available for local business and industry. 

The ultimate goal of this program is to prepare students with the knowledge and skills needed for them to secure successful employment in local industries and to meet the economic and
workforce needs of our community.

“This is a great opportunity for our students and their families,” said Jeff Curtis, Cullman Area Career Center Director. “Students could actually enter this program as a junior and graduate
high school with an associate degree, possibly at no cost, and be ready to transfer straight to a university and/or go to work.”