PIQUA — The Upper Valley Career Center looks back on 2021 as another successful and record-breaking year. Enrollment on the high school’s main campus in Piqua was the highest in school history, with 1,069 students on campus at the start of school in August.
“These numbers are a reflection of the value of career and technical education,” said Jason Haak, UVCC superintendent. “Students, families, and employers are all seeing the positive impact of career tech on their lives. We are working together to train tomorrow’s workforce right here in our communities.”
UVCC’s work-based learning programs have been extremely successful and are continuing to grow in demand with students and employers alike. The 2021-22 school year saw an increase of 27 apprenticeship students, bringing the total number of seniors in that program to 101. Of those students, 97 represent the trades and industrial programs and four are part of the newly piloted medical careers apprenticeship model.
“The medical apprenticeships have been really successful this year,” said Naomi Baker, Career Placement specialist. Expanding the apprenticeship model to include the medical community has been advantageous for employers as well as students.
“Students get a whole year of relevant work experience before graduation, and they bring those real world lessons back to their classrooms to share with their peers,” said Baker. “Employers love the program because it allows them to gain early access to skilled, qualified employees, and our students are in a fantastic position as they start and grow their careers right here.”
In the class of 2021, 35% of the senior class participated in one of the three work-based learning programs offered at UVCC.
“Another measure of success for our students are industry-recognized credentials,” said Haak. Credentials can count toward a student’s graduation eligibility and are valuable when they are seeking employment and career placement opportunities.
In the 2020-21 school year, 652 on-campus students earned a total of 2,414 credentials. Of those students, 328 were juniors earning 1,593 credentials, and 324 seniors earning 821 credentials.
The adult division continues to adapt to the needs of our region, focusing on the education and training of adult students. Lab upgrades and new equipment were a priority in 2021, ensuring that students are training with the tools and equipment they will encounter when on the job.
Also new in 2021 were the development of two new adult programs focused on addressing the need for welders and medical professionals in our area.
“Our welding program is really versatile for individuals and employers,” said Duane Caudill, Adult Division director. “We offer a 600-hour certification for students interested in the full welding program. However, we also offer microcredentials for students or employers looking to focus on specific welding skills and techniques. We really pride ourselves on being a training specialist to meet the needs of our business partners.” The update and expansion of the welding lab on campus was a bonus for this program as well.
The RN Diploma program was developed last year and is expected to launch in the summer of 2022. It is designed to offer a pathway of advancement to individuals who currently hold a licensed practical nurse certification and are looking to advance their career as a registered nurse.
“We are excited about the expansion of our offerings, we are always looking forways to enhance our services, and are always dedicated to helping our students and business partners thrive,” said Caudill.
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.