PIQUA — February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and it is fitting that Ohio’s theme for the 2023 celebration is “CTE on the Rise.” With increased community awareness, a growing business partner base, and increased numbers in both high school and adult programs, Upper Valley Career Center is experiencing firsthand the Rise of CTE.
As a district, UVCC is committed to meeting the local business and industry workforce needs to support our citizens and economy. To accomplish this, UVCC is focused on expanding programming options both on our main campus in Piqua and throughout our satellite locations in Shelby, Miami, Champaign, and Darke Counties. Additionally, efforts are being made to increase classroom capacity for high-demand programs and expand the very popular work-based learning opportunities.
A significant goal that UVCC shares with career tech districts throughout the state is to increase collaboration between high school and adult training programs through the Ohio Technical Center network. This includes allowing high school students to take Adult Division Classes – much like the College Credit Plus academic courses offered – as well as providing a direct pathway from high school education into post-secondary.
One example of this initiative in action is the newly issued, state-certified adult apprenticeship programs. As a fully registered apprenticeship site, high school students who participated in the apprenticeship program can complete their journeyperson with the UVCC Adult Division. In addition, “Any adult with a high school diploma can complete the full program with us,” said Duane Caudill, UVCC’s Adult Division director. Apprenticeships are available in HVAC/R, Precision Tooling & Machining, Welding, and Advanced Manufacturing Maintenance PLC.
“Also, adults who are interested in learning a new skill, or upskilling, we are now offering single courses,” said Caudill. Classes range from electrical and welding to 3D printing, HVAC and plumbing. “Anyone can benefit from these courses,” commented UVCC’s superintendent, Jason Haak. “Whether someone wants to improve their skills for their job or just for their own personal interest, these are great options.”
In August 2022, the first cohort of the new RN transitional program began. This program is providing a direct pathway for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to advance their career, become a diploma RN, and help address the nursing shortage in our region. “This cohort will conclude in July 2023, and we look forward to seeing their successes and the start of new cohorts,” said Caudill.
The secondary side of UVCC continues to witness tremendous success with record enrollments again for the 2023-24 school year, and a booming apprenticeship program with over 100 students and 68 employers currently involved.
In alignment with district initiatives, satellite programming has expanded at Sidney High School with the addition of welding and construction programs. “This gives students access to valuable career tech classes, while being able to stay at their home school,” said Haak.
On campus, programming will expand for the 2023-24 school year with the addition of First Responders Academy. This lab will focus on the essentials of law enforcement in the junior year and offer students the chance to explore related careers like fire and EMS.
UVCC is one of the six out of 49 career centers in Ohio to receive an A on this year’s state report card. “Expanding programming, adding staff and students, while maintaining our high quality standards is something that goes directly back to how much our faculty and staff invest in our students. Our staff is second to none,” said Haak.
To learn more about the Upper Valley Career Center, visit www.uppervalleycc.org, find us on social media, or call to schedule an appointment or tour at 937-778-1980.