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Trailblazer Academy Opening In August

Helping Students Get A Jump Start On Their Careers

A student welder practices at the Harrodsburg Area Technology Center.

Jennifer Marsh

A new career academy that will serve Mercer, Boyle and Anderson Counties is opening this August. The Trailblazer Academy will offer students six academic pathways in two career fields, medicine, including registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse and state registered nurse aide and maintenance including industrial maintenance, industrial electrician and welding.

A student pursuing one of the medical pathways will graduate with most of the credits needed to begin work as a nursing assistant. Students pursing the industrial maintenance pathway will receive a waiver from the state for certain educational requirements, so they can study a subject related to their career.

“It is possible for a student who graduates high school with an industrial maintenance certification to get a job earning $50,000 a year with benefits,” said Tony Webb, principal of The Hughes-Jones Harrodsburg Area Technology Center. “First year teachers with bachelor’s degrees don’t earn that much.”

Academy graduates can still attend a four-year university after graduating. It just won’t take them four years to graduate.

“Students will graduate with certification and either a quarter or a third of their industrial maintenance degree already completed. By the end of their senior year, students will have earned enough dual credits to cut off a year of college, saving them time and tuition money,” Webb said.

The Trailblazer Academy was started with J.P. Morgan-Chase, who sponsored three planning grants to develop career academies. The academy will have three hubs: the hub in Lawrenceburg will focus on healthcare while the one in Danville and the main hub at the Hughes-Jones Harrodsburg Area Technology Center will both focus on manufacturing.

“All five school districts (Mercer, Burgin, Anderson, KSD and Danville) will be busing students to the three hubs. Most of the classes will be offered at HATC,” Webb said.

The academy will open for the first school year in August.

Participating schools will pick up some of the cost of transportation and staffing, but will share resources.

For more information, visit Tony Webb at Hughes-Jones Harrodsburg Area Technology Center located at 661 Tapp Road, or call 734-9329.

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.

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