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RC3 Selected as a Best Practice School by the Governor's Office

September 16, 2022

(Hoover, AL) - Hoover City Schools Riverchase Career Connection Center (RC3) has been selected as a Regional Best Practice School by the Governor's Office. This distinction is awarded to career training programs throughout the state that demonstrate the diverse ways work-based learning is being utilized. This recognition puts RC3 in the running for the Governor’s Work-Based Learning Seal of Excellence. 

Dr. Debra Walker Smith, Hoover City Schools Executive Director of Career and Technical Education, was surprised and excited about the designation. She’s extremely proud of the work of the faculty, staff, and students because she says such recognition is the result of a team effort at RC3.

“I am very proud that people outside of our school district recognize the quality of our work,” said Dr. Smith. “This honor is a little surprising since we’re a relatively new career center. However, when you step back and look objectively at the practices that we have implemented and what we have been able to accomplish, I believe RC3 is worthy of this designation. Together, we have created a simulated workplace that our students recognize and are benefiting from. RC3’s environment focuses on college and career readiness and soft skills. Our industry partners have shared the need for improvement in these areas. The structure that we have in place supports that growth,” added Dr. Smith.

Nicholas Moore, director of the Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation, said, “We received many excellent applications. Among those applications, yours stood out in a way that we believe other providers could benefit from learning about. The team and I see quality and value in your program and are excited to help you highlight your work. Only through the efforts of all of our workforce partners will we keep the engine of Alabama’s economy moving forward and keep Alabama on the rise in the national and international business community.”

RC3, located at 853 Willow Oak Drive in Hoover, opened in 2019 and is a high-tech career center with simulated workspaces. The facility is made possible through an innovative collaboration among education leaders, city officials, and business/industry partners. RC3 serves students at three high schools: Hoover High School, Spain Park High School, and Homewood High School.  There are five career training academies at RC3:

  1. Skilled Trades Academy (construction, electrical, HVAC, heavy equipment operating, welding)

  2. Cyber Innovation Academy (dual enrollment programming, network administration)

  3. Culinary and Hospitality Academy (culinary arts, hospitality, event planning)

  4. Fire Science and Emergency Services Academy (firefighting, emergency services responders)

  5. Health Science Academy (health careers, medical terminology, safety in healthcare)

Dr. Smith says there’s a possibility that RC3 will expand in the near future to continue to impact the lives of students as they pursue college and career readiness.  

“We’re still having conversations regarding the development of additional program offerings. It is our hope that those additional academies will open within the next two years,” said Dr. Smith.

As a contender for the Governor’s Work-Based Learning Seal of Excellence, Moore says RC3 will participate in presentations during upcoming regional meetings with the Governor's Office of Education and Workforce Transformation. After the regional presentations are complete, Moore’s team will make recommendations to Governor Kay Ivey for the four (4) winners of the inaugural Work-Based Learning Seal of Excellence.