‘Building a Healthcare Pipeline’ an Interview with Jody Reeves, Executive Director, Academies and Career and Technical Education
Jody Reeves leads a team of professionals in the Academies and Career and Technical Education Department serving all of Gwinnett County Public Schools. Our interview took place merely a week out from where Ms. Reeves will retire from her current role, leaving a county that she has served for over 28 years. After receiving both her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Georgia, Ms. Reeves served as a school teacher at North Gwinnett High School for nearly 21 years. All four of her children attended the school where she taught Home Economics. Throughout the interview, Ms. Reeves took us on a journey describing the evolution of the career and technical education program and how she entered into her current role.
COR: There are 17 career clusters in Georgia, what do you feel that the number one goal is for the Career and Technical Education programs to accomplish to be successful?
Ms. Reeves: Our goal is to provide students with the opportunity to develop a solid base of skills for their chosen career cluster along with an adequate academic preparation. This is a balancing act and one that is important to not swing too far in either direction. Many of our students will acquire a certain set of skills and it is important that those are transferrable from one industry to another because at this age they may not know what they want to do yet. Martha Ross, a fellow at the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute, illustrates just how important these skills can be for disadvantaged youth. She notes that among 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds, people who have been exposed to Career and Technical Education programs have a better chance of earning beyond living wage and working in higher quality jobs.
COR: With so many industries to consider, how does your team stay on top of the constantly changing world around you to ensure the clusters are optimally functioning?
Ms. Reeves: I have a team of ten people now and we will continue to grow. This team helps us stay on top of the changing world, but we don’t do it alone. We have been strategic with setting up district wide advisory committees to help us make decisions that are best for each industry. Additionally, many of our teachers and principals have industry experience themselves and they stay current by attending professional conferences.
COR: Specific to the Health Science cluster what is the ideal future state you would like to see realized?
Ms. Reeves: I want every student in the Health Science cluster to be prepared with skills that make them employable, have solid clinical experience, and relevant industry credentials.
The COR Perspective:
COR is delighted to work with leaders like Jody Reeves. The sign of a great leader is someone always looking to grow and learn. The passion shines through her work and spills onto her team that has this same drive for continual improvement. We entitled this piece ‘Building a Healthcare Pipeline’ because that is what Ms. Reeves and her team are doing! By offering early exposure to the healthcare setting, and building critical skills in these rising professionals, the healthcare industry will reap the benefits. We would like to thank Ms. Reeves and her team for their continued commitment to the students of Gwinnett County, the community, and to helping build the future of healthcare.
We Rise by Lifting Others-Robert Ingersoll