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Innovative Hi.Ed continues to connect Alabama students to the workforce amid pandemic

Both an example of mutually beneficial public-private partnerships and how innovation has been especially key amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama’s Hi.Ed continues to find new ways to utilize its unique online platform to connect students to 21st-century jobs.

Yellowhammer News in the fall reported that Hi.Ed, which stands for Hyper-Individualized Education Design, had recently joined Birmingham’s Innovation Depot, which is renowned for helping new and developing startups.

Hi.Ed founder Duwan Walker summarized that the platform is a way “to deliver students to careers,” allowing students to identify, explore and prepare for career pathways. This includes not only four-year degrees but also two-year degrees and skills training.

A prime example of this aspect of Hi.Ed’s mission was on full display in recent days, as the company partnered with Trenholm State, the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery Public Schools and Montgomery Public Schools Career Technologies Center (MPACT) to host a virtual career exploration event.

The event attracted 300 local 10th-12th graders from Montgomery Public Schools, helping them tackle the often daunting task of what to do after high school.

Students explored eight career clusters: Automotive Service, Electrical Technology, Fire Science/Public Safety, HVAC, Industrial Systems, IT/CIS, Medical Sciences, and Welding. Both Trenholm State instructors and MPACT teachers reportedly presented informative presentations exploring various career pathway possibilities within these clusters. Information was provided on average starting salaries, job descriptions, skills, training, education and certifications required for a myriad of career opportunities.

Trenholm State is a public, historically black community college in Alabama’s capital city.

“Preparing Alabama’s workforce is our mission. We are thrilled to partner with Hi.Ed, MPS and the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce to offer early career exploration to help young people see what kind of high-wage, in-demand careers are available in our state,” stated Trenholm State interim president Anita Archie. “This virtual event was designed to help students make informed decisions as they consider a future career pathway.”

Hi.Ed hosted the virtual event to help students familiarize themselves with majors consistent with their interests, which is a major facet of the platform. The event targeted high school seniors and dual enrollment students in the 10th and 11th grades.

Walker commented, “We are excited to partner with Trenholm State and MPS to join the Governor’s initiative of 500,000 credentialed workers by aligning education and the workforce on the Hi.Ed platform. We believe by building this model with Trenholm State and MPS; we can replicate this throughout our state to deliver more of our students to their dreams.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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