Students entering high school next year are invited to learn more about the Alachua County Public Schools' (ACPS) wide variety of career academies on Thursday.
This year's ACPS Career Academy Showcase will be held from 6- 8 p.m. at Eastside High School (1201 SE 43rd St.).
"It's the one time every year that all of our career academies are together in one place," said Shannon Ritter, director of College & Career Pathways, in a phone interview. "So, we want to ensure that all the eighth graders and their parents know about it because otherwise if they're interested in any of the programs, they'll have to wait until January to go to individual open houses."
Current eighth graders and their families will be able to view displays and demonstrations and talk to teachers and current students from each of the district's career academies, including the new Academy of Media Technology Production at Loften High School.
About 1,600 Alachua County high school students are currently enrolled in the career academies, which offer a rigorous curriculum in various fields, including health care, law enforcement, culinary arts, and biotechnology.
"It is similar to a trade show," Ritter said. "Everybody will have their table set up with show-and-tell items. Culinary will probably have some cookies, then robotics will have some fun hands-on robotic thing for students to visit and try out."
Students in the programs have access to internships, and many will graduate from high school with a certification in their chosen fields, making them much more marketable when it's time to look for a job. Students can also earn college credits and scholarships while attending the academies.
"There are many things to think about when you're starting high school, and so for us, we just feel like this is such a unique event to have us all together in one place," Ritter said.
Individual career academies will be holding open houses in January to give students and families a first-hand look at their facilities and programs.
The district's website shows a schedule of those open houses.
For more information, visit the district's Career and Technical Education office.
The district’s career-tech academies are:
- Academy of Agribusiness (Hawthorne High School)
- Academy of Agriscience (Santa Fe High School)
- Academy of Automotive Technology (Professional Academies Magnet @ Loften High School)
- Institute of Biotechnology (Santa Fe High)
- Academy of Criminal Justice (Newberry High School)
- Institute of Culinary Arts (Eastside High School)
- Academy of Entrepreneurship (Buchholz High School)
- Academy of Finance (Buchholz High)
- Academy of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (PAM@ Loften)
- Academy of Future Teachers (Gainesville High School)
- Academy of Gaming and Mobile Apps (PAM@Loften)
- Institute of Graphic Art and Design (PAM@Loften)
- Academy of Health Professions (Gainesville High)
- Academy of Robotics and Engineering (PAM@Loften)
- Academy of Veterinary Assisting (Santa Fe High School)
- Academy of Media Production Technology (PAM@Loften)