PIQUA — Upper Valley Career Center is widely known for high school and adult career and technical education.
“This school year we have over 25 career training programs on our main campus serving approximately 800 high school students,” said Superintendent Dr. Nancy Luce. “In addition the Career Center staffs and equips over 25 satellite programs which serve more than 2,000 students in area middle and high schools. This outstanding success is a tribute to strong relationships and student-focused collaboration with our associate school partners. Our Adult Division served 1,294 individuals during 2015 with many of those receiving training in multiple courses.”
Her report continues:
Ohio began issuing report cards for career centers in 2014. The most recent report card indicates that 98.3 percent of our high school students graduated in four years, 77.1 percent were enrolled in classes that offered college credits, 70.1 percent passed a state-developed technical test and 90.2 percent were employed, in the military or in college within 9 months of graduation. These results earned Upper Valley an “A” designation and reflect our goals for each student: Did the student earn a high school diploma? Is the student prepared for post-secondary training needed for his or her career path? Is the student employable?
Upper Valley Career Center continues to respond to regional and statewide calls to provide programming for middle school students. Following the successful implementation of a middle school pre-engineering/exploring technologies program for seventh graders at Piqua Junior High School in the fall of 2014, a program for eighth graders was added in 2015. A similar program was initiated at Troy Junior High School for seventh graders. These classes provide all students in these grade levels time to actively engage in projects using science, technology, engineering and math principles to solve career-based problems in areas such as manufacturing, construction, robotics and biomedical technologies. We have also added a ninth- and 10th-grade Computer Information Systems program at Sidney High School. These classes combined with the existing eleventh and twelfth grade CIS program enable SHS students to complete a four-year information technology pathway.
Programming must continue to evolve in order to meet the needs of employers. One example of this on-going effort is our Electronics Technologies program. This year curriculum was refocused on programming and operating industrial robotics. We launched a pilot utilizing Chromebook carts to provide greater support for instruction and assessment for our satellite instructors and students. Additional funds have been utilized to maintain up-to-date, program-specific software and equipment necessary to prepare our students for today’s workforce. Laptops continue to provide on-campus students 24-hour access to assignments, instructional notes, and resource materials.
The Adult Division is partnering with local agencies, development boards, and Miami Valley CTC to provide the Dayton Logistics program. We also experienced growth in full-time programs: Advanced Manufacturing/PLC, Precision Tooling and Machining, HVACR, Practical Nursing, and Medical Office. These year-round programs offer college credit and industry standard certifications. Full-time programs are financial aid eligible for those who qualify.
The Adult Basic and Literacy Education program offers daytime and evening classes in GED preparation as well as refresher skills, employability, and post-secondary entry preparation or “Bridge” programs. One hundred and forty-seven GED vouchers were issued indicating a strong local interest in this life-changing credential.
Upper Valley Career Center will continue to focus on building relationships with students, area educators, and business and industry representatives while identifying regional training needs. Particular emphasis will be on the continued expansion of our model apprenticeship program. Our goal is to evolve with our communities and business sectors so that the adults and high school students we train will be prepared to move forward on their particular career path.