Harold Lipscomb, Jacksonville High School, Jacksonville, Alabama
Harold Lipscomb was inspired to become a CTE teacher by his father who taught welding at a career and technology center and his high school agribusiness teacher. "My father and agribusiness teacher were major influences in my life. I knew if I followed in their footsteps, I would be happy," he explained. Just as his father did for him, Lipscomb is currently teaching his eldest daughter as a junior in one of his classes. "It is different when you teach your own children…To see your child learn and grow inside and outside of a classroom. I get a new perspective as both parent and teacher," he said. In the classroom, Lipscomb wants his students to know that it does not matter where you come from or what your social economic background may be, every student that walks through his door will be treated with respect and compassion. "I want to establish an open line of communication. They’re all my kids when they’re here."
As the agribusiness instructor at Jacksonville High School in Alabama, Lipscomb believes that leadership development is a key component of success. Lipscomb leads by example as an FFA advisor and has encouraged his students to be involved in organizations that give them additional support in generating life skills and building qualified resumes. Throughout his teaching career, there have been over six state FFA officers and countless district officers from his program representing the state of Alabama. Students have competed and won awards at the district, state and national level. Lipscomb’s daughter is currently a district officer and another student will be showcasing her leadership skills by competing at the National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky in Prepared Public Speaking.
"I think that we try to invest in our students and in our program…It doesn’t matter what field they go into, I would like these kids to come out of our program feeling that they can compete in and take part in absolutely anything," said Lipscomb. Lipscomb is proud to share that in addition to competitive events; his students take leadership of activities that give back to their community. Students plan, organize and manage activities throughout the holiday season including a toy drive, collection for local charities and a canned food drive. "I advise them from time to time, but I have a lot of great kids that step up," he explains.
When asked about providing his students with the choice to take workplace safety training, Lipscomb explained that his students take into account how to best be prepared for the future. "We’ve stressed heavily in leadership development…and I think that makes a big difference in the success of our students." OSHA workplace safety training is included on Lipscomb’s course syllabi for his junior and senior classes. Teaching over 150 students through all grade levels, Lipscomb offers the training to his students that are about to enter the job market or are currently employed. Lipscomb said that the training results in a stronger resume for students and shared a recent story of two students competing for the same job position: "One of my students already had the credential and the other did not. In the end the student with the credential received the job offer...They become more marketable to a company because they are coming in ready on a certain level rather than starting at a training and testing level."
CareerSafe is proud to work with teachers like Lipscomb who teach more than just educational standards and are creating students with work ethic and leadership qualities that will enable them to move forward as the country’s next leaders.