Career and Technical Education (CTE) is a blend of academic, career-specific, general workplace, and life skills leading to further education and employment. It is a critical element in meeting the needs of students in academic achievement, career exploration, career preparation, and leadership development.
Sylacauga High School has earned recognition for its superlative Career and Technical Education programs. In 2004, three career-technical computer labs were fully modernized. In Fall 2013, the new wing of the high school was opened. It housed all the core subject classes, along with six classrooms for the CTE department and a kitchen for the family and consumer sciences classes. By 2015, Sylacauga High School had expanded Career and Technical Education opportunities for students with the dedication of the new machining classroom in the CTE program. Over half of all Sylacauga students in grades 3-12 are involved in some form of CTE. Student involvement has increased every year in the health sciences curriculum thanks to a partnership with the city’s hospital, Coosa Valley Medical Center. It is the goal of health sciences that every senior graduate with a credential in a designated area. The business education department continues to expand with audio/visual technology, photojournalism, and certifications in Adobe and Microsoft. Both the FBLA and HOSA student programs have been the honored recipients of numerous state awards, with finalists placing in national competitions.
Currently, Career & Technical Education is getting renewed attention under a state and federal push to prepare students for jobs of the future. The focus, now, is to narrow the district's focus to high-wage jobs that students can get certified for during high school or can train for in technical schools after graduating. Business leaders are talking with school leaders about improving education pathways to equip graduates for work in high-demand jobs that don’t necessarily require a college degree. Sylacauga City School's Career & Technical Education program is in the process of defining itself as a nationally recognized high-quality program according to The ACTE® Quality CTE Program of Study Framework, in addition to maintaining the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), Business/Industry Certification (BIC). Business/Industry Certification is an evaluation tool used by the ALSDE, Division of CTE/Workforce Development, to assist local CTE programs to improve by setting standards by which all programs can be measured.