CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Career and technical college students are learning in a slightly different environment in the state of West Virginia.
They’re now part of the simulated workplace program, which is designed to offer the same curriculum and education for these students, but does it in the environment of a work place.
“The curriculum is the same,” said Dr. Kathy D’Antoni, Chief Career & Tech. Ed. Officer with the West Virginia Department of Education appearing on Monday’s edition of “The Mike Queen Show” on WAJR-FM. “They still learn the same technical skill sets. We’re still preparing them for careers and jobs, however it’s in the environment of a company.”
This means that students are being asked to focus on a few key areas: professionalism, attendance, and safety, which are considered vital attributes in any work place.
Where the program really gets unique is the random drug testing component.
“The idea is not to catch people or be punitive,” said Dr. D’Antoni. “The idea is to let students be aware and understand that this is an environment and this what they’ll be expected to do.”
The program doesn’t aim to punish the students, as Dr. D’Antoni pointed out. Instead, they want to use any drug test that returns positive as a learning experience.
The use of drug testing is also recognition of an ongoing issue with drugs throughout the state.
“And if we can stop or deter it at the lower levels when they’re adolescent instead of waiting til their adults–when you get to be adults it’s a drain on our economy, on our tax dollars–if we can get it stopped in adolescence then we don’t even get there,” said Dr. D’Antoni.
The program, including the drug testing, has been met with positive acclaim across the board.
“We have a 98 percent student approval rate,” said Dr. D’Antoni. “They really like this simulated workplace concept.”
Dr. D’Antoni says this is just the beginning.
“We’ve barely scratched the surface, but we’re already seeing major results and major outcomes from the simulated workplace,” she said.
There’s more information available at http://wvde.state.wv.us/simulated-workplace/.