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April 8, 2005 9:00 AM CDT

Vocational Schools Offer More Than Trade Skills


For generations, many people have connected vocational schools and career centers with teaching students who aren't interested in going to college for the skills they need to work a common trade.

"Things have changed in the field of vocational schools over the past 20 years," said Dennis Bradley, director of secondary education for Wayne County. "We now have three comprehensive high schools that offer career technical classes at each site."

"The classes offered are all encompassing," Bradley said. "We take students who are interested in vocational programs or those who just want to take a few classes to learn about something new."

Bradley is referring in part to the Earn a Degree/Graduate Early (EDGE) classes offered through the vocational program at the high schools.

The EDGE program offers high school students dual credit courses, which are college courses taught at the high school. Students can complete up to one semester toward an associate degree with EDGE. The credits then can be applied to complete an associate degree at Marshall University's Community and Technical College.

Students in the building and construction class who want to complete the full EDGE credit have to take four primary classes: fundamentals of construction, masonry and plumbing, foundation and framing as well as finishing. Students also would complete their regular high school course work.

Bradley said the comprehensive schools allow students to attend high school and take their vocational classes in the same school setting.

About the Author

The Herald-Dispatch is a daily newspaper serving Huntington, West Virginia, and neighboring communities in southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky. The Herald-Dispatch can be read online at


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