Vocational center to open by 2020


A new center in Winchester promises to be a hub of learning in the community for residents of all ages.

Winchester Public School students and area adults will all be welcomed at the Emil and Grace Shihadeh Innovation Center, a joint venture by Winchester Public Schools, Lord Fairfax Community College, and local businesses. 

Jimmy Robertson, coordinator of Innovation, Career Technical Education, and Business Partnerships, says the center will be a vocational education center geared toward preparing students for careers in the fields of information technology, health sciences, and professional skills. 

Classes will range from plumbing and electrical courses to medical courses like physical therapy. All the courses will be housed in the Jefferson Street building, which was formerly John Kerr Elementary School. 

Robertson says the Center will embody Winchester Public School’s motto of “Learning for all, whatever it takes.” He imagines students from Handley High School taking courses that allow them to apply their academic knowledge to practical skills, while adults can learn a new trade to re-enter the workforce. Professionals in the community could spend time at the Center mentoring youth interested in their field. 

“If we can help educate and give people the chance to make good wages, and also give back to the community while we’re doing it, what bigger win can that be?” said Robertson. 

According to Robertson, the Center will cost about $13,000,000 and is slated to open in the fall of 2020. That funding is coming from a mix of private and public donations, as well as skills and labor donated by local businesses. 

To get involved with the center as a mentor or to learn more, you can email Robertson.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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