Survey says cybersecurity should be added to West Ridge curriculum

Rick Wagner • Apr 26, 2020 at 3:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — The results of a career technical education (CTE) program online survey for the new West Ridge High School show cybersecurity to be the overall top choice of almost 1,000 respondents, and it also ranked high among four subgroups.

However, CTE Supervisor Aaron Flanary told the Sullivan County school board during its online meeting Thursday that the results will be used as a guide, not an absolute cutoff for the eight or nine CTE (vocational) programs school system officials are looking to add to the curriculum when West Ridge opens in August of 2021. 

The rankings were as follows: 1. cybersecurity; 2. residential electricity; 3. automation and programming; 4. business management; 5. machine tool; 6. aviation flight; 7. computer networking; 8. pharmacy technician; 9. mechatronics; 10. fire science; 11., dental technology; and 12. marketing.

Among the four subgroups, cybersecurity was ranked No. 2 among parents, teachers and others and No. 3 among students. However, among parents, teachers and others, residential electricity was No. 1, while among students business management was.

Flanary said that of 1,008 respondents, 957 were determined to be valid. Asked by board members which programs not in the top 8 might be worth consideration, Flanary said that No. 9 mechatronics, otherwise known as industrial maintenance, might be a good candidate, as would No. 12 marketing, which has high average wages.

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