Holly Amerman, CTAE director of the Rome College and Career Academy

Holly Amerman, CTAE director of the Rome College and Career Academy, spoke at the Exchange Club of Rome's meeting Friday about the plan for the upcoming school project and how it will benefit the community. / John Popham

During a presentation, a Rome City Schools official lays out why the program is important.

Holly Ammerman, CTAE director CEO of the Rome College and Career Academy, told Exchange Club members how CCA classes are more than just sending students to shop class, they teach kids valuable soft skills.

Writing resumes, interviewing skills and even answering a phone are just a few of the soft skills that make up a third of the CCA curriculum in the state of Georgia, Ammerman said.

“We are the only classes at the high school where that is actually a part of the curriculum,” she said. “It really is essential for students to take the opportunity and take these programs.”

Upcoming freshmen will be given the opportunity to connect with their pathways as a way to discourage dropping out. By December of their freshman year a student knows whether or not they will stay in school or dropout. She feels if Rome High School can connect students with their passion and keep them on their pathway for three years they will have a 100 percent graduation rate at Rome High.

Students who go through the CCA also gain certifications which give them the opportunity to find a job right out of high school or use their credentials as a launching point for their career, she said. The cosmetology pathway for example, will not only receive college credit through dual enrollment with Georgia Northwestern Technical College, but a shampoo tech license as well. Upon graduating from Rome High the students will only be two semesters away from getting their full cosmetology license.

The needs of this program right now are teacher and business partnerships. The healthcare pathways require trained healthcare professionals and public education can’t compete with how much medical groups pay, she said. The Rome City Schools CCA needs educators who are dedicated to students and want to see them succeed as well as businesses that will partner with the school to give students internships.  

Currently, the CCA academy is located inside Rome High School and offers a limited number of pathways. The plan is to construct an 89,000 square-foot facility by fall of 2020, which will hold all of the classrooms for the CCA as well as provide space for program expansions.