We covered two topics at February’s BJA Briefing. Here are highlights of what was shared about the international program and the vo-tech program that we are working to launch.
International Program (Brandon Autry, admission coordinator)
- Purpose: expand options for believers overseas who want their children to have a Christian education
- Active recruitment: our environment is changing, and we have recognized the need to reorganize our approach. In particular, BJU is expanding its international student group by more actively recruiting overseas. They have identified an increasing interest for pre-college Christian school opportunities for students as well. Our work with both individuals and an organization regarding bringing international students to BJA probably needs to change in order to more effectively work with these new opportunities.
- Personnel: we will need host families for these students and plan to hire an international coordinator to oversee this program. The role of coordinator is varied, but working with host families appears to be key. Our tuition and room & board is for 2020–21 is $26,500, which is still well below average.
- Overall: we are attempting to move from maintaining minimally to growing our ability to do ministry with international students.
Vo-Tech Program (Larry Hunt, secondary principal, and Michael Mabe, Vo-Tech program coordinator)
- Purpose: expand opportunities for students who would profit from a vo-tech program, emphasizing with students the need to be a Christian first and a technician second.
- Personnel: Mr. Michael Mabe is beginning this program. He was an instructor in BJU’s School of Applied Studies until that program ended. He then started a trade program at Crown College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He returned to BJA in August and began teaching Exploring Vo-Tech in January.
- Program: BJA’s graduation requirements is not affected by the program. This program fits within the credits required as electives. Students can take the introductory class and then opt to take more advanced classes
- Introductory class: Exploring Vo-Tech may become a full-year course where students get overview of multiple areas, acquire some basic skills, and sort out their interests.
- Advanced classes: the program will begin in 2020–21 with automotive/diesel, which is Mr. Mabe’s area of expertise and the area where we already have the needed equipment available. We hope to gradually add other trades, such as welding, electrical, etc. Cosmetology is part of the future vision for the program. Our vision is for a two-year program (a four-semester rotation of classes, of which a student can start with any semester), include an internship or apprenticeship in a related business (in the evenings or on Saturdays), and that culminates in readiness to take a certification exam.
- Benefits for students: Because of the current shortage in skilled trade employees, opportunities are high (including pay and benefits). BJA’s training hopes to prepare a student for entry-level work with strong soft skills (e.g. work ethic, communication, leadership). Employers typically eager to take that student who knows they enjoy the work, have soft skills, and can be trained further while working. Students planning on a four-year program in, say, engineering, can also greatly benefit by understanding the what they will learn in this program.