From Student to State Officer

High school students are getting a jump on their careers with the help of a new program. It's the first of its kind in our area.

Thanks to East Gadsden High School's new partnership with the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy, a group of students will soon stand tall as officers.

"I count it as a privilege and honor to be a part of this correctional officer program. It would give me a great opportunity to make an impact on our young people today."

"This is a great experience for us being that we'll be just coming out of high school. Most students end up working at fast food restaurants, but this will allow us a chance to have a promising future."

The twenty participating seniors will take 350 course hours to become correctional officers. All those courses will be taught at East Gadsden High School. Completion can earn them a job as a correctional officer anywhere in Florida with an average starting salary of $30,000.

"We're the first school in this area to have such a program. There's a 100 percent placement rate for everybody who completes correctional officer training. We are just so pleased."

Gadsden correctional officials say the program is an alternative to college that can guide students toward a rewarding career.

James says he hopes to expand the program to West Gadsden High School next year.