Opelika's tech program provides alternative opportunities for students

Opelika's tech program provides alternative opportunitiesfor students 

     TyraL. Jackson | Reporter | Opelika-AuburnNews |

Nathanael Folds, shown working on a car at APR, LLC, earlier this month, participates in Opelika High School's technical training program.

Nathanael Folds is one of manyOpelika High School students who might have a plan for their futures throughCo-Op, as February marks Career and Technical Education Month.

Folds is one of 44 students whoparticipate in the school’s Cooperative Education [Co-Op] program, which is acomponent of Opelika High School’s Career and Technical Education program.

“It’s given me the opportunity a lot ofother students won’t have in high school,” he said.

The senior leaves school early everydayto begin designing and scanning parts at APR, LLC. in Opelika, where he servesas a mechanical engineer assistant. An engineering firm, APR, LLC., has givenFolds a lot of exposure, as he plans to have a career in engineering.

“My career interest is in robotics,”Folds said. “I’m into the mechanical and electrical engineering component ofit. APR has trained me in the mechanical engineering aspect of robotics. It’slet me know this is what I definitely want to do.”

Career Tech students take coursesrelated to their desired fields of study, and the courses become more in-depthand skill oriented, as students progress. Participants in the program are ableto partner with local organizations to fulfill goals in medical, culinary andother career paths.

Opelika High School instructors do agreat job teaching students math, science and other subjects, and it also doesa great job preparing students for life after high school, said Kyle Pinckard ,Career Tech director.

“Co-Op is designed for students to havethe chance to explore opportunities before they enter school,” he said. “Thegoal is for a student to take something they’ve learned and be able to apply itto a job. Being 18 and knowing this is what I want to do is a big deal goinginto college.”