OLIVE BRANCH, MS (abc24.com) - Mississippi's future firefighters, police officers and nurses are days away from a brand new learning center. Olive Branch's Career Technology Center is set to open in the next two weeks.
High school students will be upgrading from text books for hands-on experience. It will be DeSoto's second technology center. The first is in Southaven. It's so popular, DeSoto County Schools is opening this new one to keep up with demand.
"Students will have that hands-on real work experience. Right now, they're in classrooms with book studying." Principal Beth Turner says DeSoto's newest school takes learning to a whole new level in a lab type setting.
Olive Branch's tech center specializes in four programs. Students can focus on health care professions. "They'll have hospital beds, wheel chairs and mannequins they can practice CPR on," Turner says.
Or they learn the ins and outs of law enforcement "The laws, fire and EMS, everything that goes along with public safety," she tells abc24.com. "We have an overhead door so we can pull in an ambulance and a police car."
The school also offers classes for industrial jobs like welding or plumbing.
Those interested in a career in shipping can work in a fully functional warehouse.
"We're hoping to partner with a company called First Books. They provide books for kids who may not be able to afford them themselves. We'll actually receive the books here."
Students then unload shipments and track inventory. "We'll also receive orders from the company. Students will pull the orders, pack and load the truck when it comes up."
More than 100 high school students are currently enrolled. Turner expects that number to double next year.
"They've seen the demand for these programs, for students to have real work experience and apply it right out of high school."
All classes are two year programs. Students from Center Hill, Olive Branch and Lewisburg will all attend the new school.