RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The future is happening now for dozens of Richmond students. Starting this fall, the cutting-edge knowledge they'll need to compete in the workforce will be available years before they even graduate.
The science, technology, engineering, and math -- or STEM -- program will be housed at the Richmond Technical Center. Its only the ninth one of its kind in the state.
Its been a long haul -- school officials working to get this career and technical academy approved.
But finally Richmond Public Schools has the go ahead.
"The proposal is going to be one that's expected to bring attention to those careers in technology and engineering as well as therapuetic services," said Dr. Yvonne Brandon, Richmond Public Schools Superintendent.
Dr. Brandon says the program's success will start at the middle school level -- prepping students early.
The curriculum at the technical academy will be geared to give students the skills and knowledge required for college and/ or the workforce, focusing on today's technology that is proving to be the wave of the future.
Partnerships with Virginia Commonwealth University and J. Sargeant Reynolds makes it possible through hands on learning and practice.
"When they graduate from high school they will have college credits under their belt, licensure and certification under their belt, and they'll be more prepared than someone else who walks right in," Brandon said.
Fourty-five 9th graders will take part in the program the first year. In four years, school officials expect to be at capacity with almost 200 students.