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Volunteer High School, Tennessee

Congratulations to NC3’s May School on the Rise, Volunteer High School! Located in Church Hill, Tennessee, Volunteer High School has accomplished great success in changing the lives of their students through Career and Technical Education. 

With certifications such as Snap-on’s PMI and Festo’s Fundamentals of Electricity, Volunteer High School students are able to earn industry-recognized credentials and continue on to promising careers in the technical trades.

Since joining NC3’s network in 2017, the instructors and administration at Volunteer High School have recognized the benefits and importance of offering industry-recognized certifications to their students. Will Cordell, Assistant Principal, states, 

The benefit for us obviously is the more certifications we can provide to our students, the better off they’re going to be in the workforce. Higher pay is often given if they’re going into the workforce and they’ve earned certifications. By us giving certifications, we’re ensuring that they have achieved that knowledge and they are ready for the workplace.

Adrian Smith, Engineering by Design Teacher adds to that by saying, “If our students have NC3 Certifications, whether it be Multimeter, PMI, or Torque, that counts as an industry certification so that helps them meet the criteria that employers are looking for. It’s a multifaceted tool that benefits not only the students but also employers.”

In addition to the benefits of earning industry credentials, Will Cordell remarks on the advantages of offering NC3 Certifications. He states, 

Right now, we’ve been lucky in the fact that these certifications come free to our students. That’s huge for us. The ability to receive them is much easier in a secondary setting than it would be in post-secondary for them. It’s a win-win for kids to be able to get those certifications here rather than having to pursue them after graduation.

Adrian Smith adds to that statement by saying, “The other thing is that we talk about tolerances and we talk about precision but until we had this industry-recognized certification training in place, there was no way for our students to really be able to see and be able to get their hands on the tools. I firmly believe that after going through the PMI-1, there’s no reason why it can be offered at the middle school before moving on to high school. Tape and Rule can easily be added to the standard measuring curriculum offered at the primary level.”

By earning NC3 Certifications at the secondary level, students at Volunteer High School are able to enter the workforce straight after graduation, and some of them are choosing that route as opposed to continuing on to college. Timothy Thompson, Industrial Technology Teacher, remarks, 

I’ve had some students that go on to post-secondary and some that have gone on to internships in the electrical field. They get hired quite quickly if they have certain certifications.

With jobs in the technical field in high demand, students are recognizing that they can have prosperous careers without a four-year degree. Will Cordell explains, 

There is greater awareness now that there is another path besides college. The trade industry needs skilled workers and I feel like that is at the forefront of our students’ minds. It’s more likely that that’s where the jobs will be for them.

The Volunteer High School instructors have also experienced the benefits of attending NC3’s Train-the-Trainer events and comment on how they have positively impacted their delivery in the classroom. Jonathan Barton explains, 

I taught PMI in school before joining NC3 but going to Train-the-Trainer gives you a different perspective on how to teach it and how to get the point across to the students.

Timothy Thompson agrees by saying, “Going through the training yourself makes it easier to teach because you learn different teaching techniques. It helps a lot.”

Volunteer High School has a passionate and dedicated teaching staff who want more than anything for their students to succeed. Will Cordell explains what makes Volunteer High School stand out amongst other institutions in their area by saying, “Our teachers are the biggest part of what makes Volunteer High School stand out. The teachers we have are here for the students and not for themselves, and they want to see them succeed.” In addition to great instructors, Adrian Smith also remarks on their wonderful students. He says, “We have a great bunch of students. I know every school has great students but I love our kids. It’s not work, it’s enjoyable to come here and teach at Volunteer High School.”

So, what’s on the horizon for Volunteer High School? The instructors would like to grow their certification program and offer many more industry-recognized certifications to their students. Adrian Smith also has goals for his students in PMI. He says, “My goal is to have 100% of my second-year students be PMI certified.”

Congratulations, Volunteer High School on your outstanding achievements in Career and Technical Education! We are proud to honor you as NC3’s May School on the Rise!


Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in June 2021!

Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985, Erika.Staackmann@nc3.net

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