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The Villages
Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sumter County school superintendent reports more students earning industry-relevant credentials

At a time when workforce demands for technical skills and industry certification are at an all-time high, the schools in Sumter County have increased the number of students earning industry-relevant credentials by 31 percent with 266 industry certifications awarded this school year.

The high schools in Sumter County (South Sumter High, Wildwood Middle High, The Villages Charter High) offer numerous career and technical programs to students, and, within those programs, students have the opportunity to sit for credentials recognized by business and industry locally, regionally, or nationally. Workforce-recognized credentials in the areas of multimedia technology and office productivity dominated with agriculture certifications following. Students earned credentials in a variety of Adobe and Microsoft Office products.

The agriculture certifications included AG Biotechnology, Animal Science, and Unmanned Aerial Systems Use in Agriculture. A number of students earned the Certified Food Professional Manager credential.  Healthcare, ever important in our region, was represented with Certified Nursing Assistant licenses, EKG Technician certifications, Medical Administrative Assistant credentials, and even a few Phlebotomy certifications.

Middle school students continued their studies in a digital tool curriculum to include database and multimedia essentials.

Sixty-seven seventh and eighth grade students were awarded their certificates in these areas.  This was nearly double that of last year’s awards.

Ninety-two of the credentials earned were identified by the Florida Department of Education as gold-standard, meaning they translate into college credit at state colleges offering an aligned workforce degree program.

“Not every student will want or need to go to college. However, we believe every student will need a good foundation in basic skills and the ability to have an employable skill set in an area of their individual interest. Our growth in industry certifications is an indication that we are on the right track, better preparing our students for a bright future,” said Superintendent Rick Shirley.

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