Frank M. Johnson Jr Institute and the Middle District Host MPACT

The Middle District of Alabama and the Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. Institute recently welcomed two groups of students from the Montgomery Public Schools’ MPACT program to the Frank Johnson Courthouse.

MPACT, which stands for Montgomery Preparatory Academy for Career Technologies, focuses on high school students who want to graduate with a career certification along with their high school degree. Students visiting the courthouse were primarily from the Public Safety, Information Technology, the Honors Career Society, and Fire Safety programs. FMJI helped coordinate the event to help introduce them to the historical and constitutional importance of The Frank Johnson Courthouse of the Middle District of Alabama while also exposing students to career options.

The groups heard from U. S. District Judge Myron Thompson and IT Director Florian Weber, and some students were able to watch live court proceedings. Judge Thompson and Mr. Weber spent time with the students discussing their work and how they decided on their career fields. A question and answer session with Judge Thompson not only helped students focus on law as a career field, but they were able to ask questions about the process and educational path that Judge Thompson took as well. The IT portion of the visit gave the MPACT students the opportunity to see firsthand all the avenues where technology is used and needed within the court system. Weber discussed certification, equipment, and personnel required to make the courts function. Students engaged with questions about degree areas, what types of court cases needed technical support, and how to get a job within the federal system. FMJI later hosted the Fire Safety and Public Safety classes from MPACT, catering to students with a focus on careers in law enforcement and fire departments. During this visit, the students were able to watch a sentencing in Judge Thompson’s courtroom.

While at the courthouse, the students were given the opportunity to tour the Johnson Library and ask questions with the FMJI staff. Several students stated the setting was “an awesome experience” and expressed interest in changing career fields after the tour. One visitor remarked that she “had no idea all this history was in Montgomery.”

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