Roanoke City Schools propose multi-million dollar plan to expand career training opportunities

As part of the plan, the school division would purchase the Roanoke Times building to house administrative offices

New project creates more career training opportunities for Roanoke City students
New project creates more career training opportunities for Roanoke City students

ROANOKE, Va. – A multi-million dollar project is in the works to increase access to career training opportunities for students in the Star City.

Preparing for the future in Roanoke City Public Schools means taking learning beyond the classroom.

“At first, I didn’t know what to choose, but after meeting the students and seeing that they need help, a lot more influences in their life, I just want to make a difference in these kids’ lives,” said Aniya Walker, a senior at William Fleming High School.

For many students, those opportunities haven’t been easy to come by.

“It’s like a 30-minute drive from William Fleming to Patrick Henry, which is a lot,” Walker said.

Now the school system is working to remove those barriers by expanding career and technical education instruction.

“Students need to be connected and we need to have pathways for them so that they can choose the future that they want,” said Roanoke City Public Schools Superintendent Verletta White.

The priority of the massive proposal is creating a new Roanoke Technical Education Center campus near William Fleming.

That would give more students access to hands-on career training in a number of fields.

“Those programs teach skills and not only the academic skills but also the soft skills. How do you start a project and complete it on time and on schedule? How to give a firm handshake and keep your word,” White said.

To free up the space for that facility, the district plans to move some other things around: purchasing the Roanoke Times building to house administrative offices and creating a community empowerment and education center in the current admin building, which would also offer learning resources for adults.

“It gives a lot more children the chance to actually choose their path in life and not be influenced by other things,” Walker said.

There are still plenty of hoops to jump through, including approval from both the Roanoke City Council and the school board.

The school system is also launching a survey Wednesday to get community feedback. Click here to see where that will be available.

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