GALLERY: Red Level, Straughn students participate in CCS’ first Future of Workforce Academy

Published 1:00 pm Saturday, July 6, 2024

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Four students from Covington County Schools completed a four-day workshop and learned career and technical education skills during the inaugural Future of the Workforce Academy on Thursday, June 13.

Covington County Schools career coach Kelsi Scruggs organized the workshop and attended each stop of the tour. Students in the first class were Payton Mount and Ansley Smith from Red Level along with Journi Stinson and Taniyah Wood from Straughn.

“These four rising tenth-grade students gained hands-on knowledge of the wide variety of careers available to them throughout Covington County,” Scruggs said. “It was a fun week filled with many new and exciting opportunities for these students. We can’t wait to continue the growth of this program each year and provide students with more career exploration opportunities. A big thank you goes out to each business and industry professional who took the time to interact and engage with these students.”

The workshop was developed to increase student knowledge of career and technical educational programs offered through Covington County Schools. It introduces participants to jobs within these fields in local communities with a focus on students interested in career tech fields. Students could potentially pursue certificates or degrees in those fields or choose to enter the workforce upon completion of high school.

Students toured local businesses and industries and also participated in small group sessions with various community partners. This year’s class visited the Alabama Aviation College, Alabama Extension and Soil & Water Conservation, Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, Andalusia Farmers Market, Andalusia Health, Andalusia Manor, Andalusia Public Library, Covington County Economic Development Commission, Covington County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Blake Turman, Covington Electric Cooperative, Laura Syler with Auburn AG College, LBW Community College’s EMS Program, LBWCC’s Forestry Program, PHI Air Medical, South Alabama Regional Airport, and Sweet South Market.

“The workshop showed me that there are so many different types of jobs in our community and the importance behind each one. It really opened my eyes to the different possibilities I could have in life,” Mount said.

“It was a good experience and taught me all the jobs I needed to know about the future. We had a lot of choices like medical, healthcare, aviation, agriculture, and farming. I had a fun time with all the girls,” Stinson said.

“The workshop showed me there are so many different types of jobs out there and opened my eyes to all the different possibilities I could have in life. It showed me career opportunities I might do in the future if I decide to change from what I’m looking into right now. I loved the experience and people I was around and also enjoyed meeting new people. The program really caught my eye, and I will be doing it again,” Wood said.

“The Future of the Workforce Academy opened my eyes to a lot of job opportunities around Andalusia and in general. It was really fun to meet new people, and I liked how it gave me the opportunity to ask questions. I was able to learn information about places to go at different colleges and schools,” Smith said.

All four high schools (Florala, Pleasant Home, Red Level, and Straughn) in the CCS system have agriscience classes available to their students. In addition, Florala and Pleasant Home each offer family and consumer science classes, while Red Level and Straughn each provide business and marketing opportunities.

Scruggs hopes that bringing awareness to the workshop will encourage more participation among students next year.

“My goal with this program is to open students’ eyes to the opportunities available to them right here in Covington County, especially in fields related to our local CTE programs. We are in the process of introducing healthcare and public safety programs into our schools. I want students to have the opportunity to learn about those career fields and see hands-on what they can do even if their school does not offer a certain program,” she said.

She credited system administrators with Covington County Schools for their efforts in helping make the program a reality.

“None of this would have been possible without the support of our superintendent Shannon Driver and our federal programs coordinator Chris Thomasson. These two men are always supportive in any career exploration activity to help our students grow and become more prepared for life after high school,” Scruggs said.

Businesses or individuals interested in partnering with CCS’ for future career exploration opportunities may email

For more information visit the Covington County Schools Career Coach Facebook page.