BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
OAK HARBOR — High school students want jobs when they graduate from high school, and they’ll need to obtain skilled positions in order to make a good living.
Fifteen young seniors were on hand on Thursday, Sept. 16 to kick off the third year-long session of the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy that can make that happen.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted visited the academy to encourage them to become the latest success stories.
“(The Skilled Trades Academy) helps students get their job certifications so they can get their high school diploma on Saturday, and start work on Monday,” said Husted. “The Skilled Trades Academy is a collaboration between business and educators to prepare students for great careers and get them started on the right foot in life.”
The Skilled Trades Academy is designed to help high school graduates to be career ready, said Husted.
“We’re in our third year, and about 75% of the young men and women in the program will graduate,” said Career Coach Jamie Collins of the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership in Oak Harbor. “The are so many courses of study, from nursing to a CDL truck driver’s license.”
The program is designed to eliminate barriers, said Collins.
“If a student doesn’t have transportation, someone will figure a way to get them to classes, or pay for the schooling they need,” she said.
“We want students to experience a wide range of occupations, whether it’s welder, electrician or even robotics,” said Career Coach Lily Garcia-Pena.
There are virtual learning sessions, said Training Coordinator Bill Hutchisson, a certified instructor and Advanced Manufacturing Training Coordinator for Custom Training Solutions, a Division of Northwest State Community College.
Husted pointed out to the small crowd of local officials, teachers, students and parents that when he was growing up in Montpelier, Ohio, jobs could be very scarce and apprenticeships hard to find. With Ohio’s businesses in dire need of qualified employees in the present economy, workers trained as certified plumbers, electricians, HVAC specialists and so many trades are in demand.