What a terrific morning! Today Vantage is again hosting 40 area junior high girls for our annual "Step Into Your Future" program. These girls will experience hands-on training in Network Systems, Welding, Precision Machining, and Construction trades. Three of our trades instructors are teaching the girls how to use the trade's equipment safely and actually make something today to take home. I could have stayed with each group all day, as it was so exciting to see these young ladies actively engaged with what they were being taught. Our teachers, past alumni, staff, and teacher aides who came in to help today are doing a terrific job!
In keeping with the informal writing, "what have I been doing lately?" seems to work! I returned from a one-week vacation in Florida, where I enjoyed weather in the 80's, and walked at least 8 to 10 miles daily on the beach. While vacation was great, I am glad to be back in the school building, as I had to spend three days in Columbus during my first week back, to meet with Ohio's legislators and carry the message of career and technical education. This was time well-spent, and our directors, Pete Prichard and Bob Vennekotter, also noted that this year's visits were perhaps the best ever.
Why do I say that? The nation, and Ohio, know there is a skills gap in our workforce. CTE continues to try to fill that gap. The Governor's office has set up a system to better integrate industry with education, so that all stakeholders know and communicate their projected skill needs to institutions who can provide training. It is a wonderful time to work in CTE, as I have never seen such awareness of CTE, and recognition of the potential impact we can have on our workforce from our state legislature and federal government. This year marks my 23d year in CTE, and as a business teacher for nine years prior to this, I know the value of teaching workplace skills to high school students. It just makes sense.
The superintendent's position allows me to fully develop Vantage Career Center in both high school and adult workforce training. When I see the results of displaced workers who now have a new career, and young junior high girls who learn not to fear the "foreign" tools of the trades they chose to learn about today, I am encouraged again, that career-technical education can, and does, fill a vital role in our community.
See what Vantage can do for you! Come to the Grand Open House on Feb. 25, 5 - 8 p.m., and see our new school!