SIDNEY — Workforce Academy is a source of pride for Sidney City Schools. The district, in conjunction with the Workforce Partnership of Shelby County, introduced Workforce Academy at Sidney High School for the 2014-15 school year with two pilot courses. Four years later, the unique program has expanded to serve close to 450 students annually in grades 7-12, with five courses at SHS and two courses at Sidney Middle School.
“The philosophy of Workforce Academy is to provide a unique, real-world approach to learning. With state-of-the-art classrooms, students are exposed to 21st century skills and technologies through learning experiences in partnership with Shelby County business leaders,” said Superintendent John Scheu.
His report continues:
Curriculum at SMS focuses on teaching “soft skills” students will need to be successful future employees. According to the Workforce Partnership partners, there are five areas of weakness found when they are hiring employees: poor attendance, illegal drugs, not being able to work well with others, too much cell phone use, and bad attitudes.
Seventh-grade curriculum focuses on creating positive work environments, teamwork, conflict management, and healthy relationships. Group projects are assigned as a means to mimic problem solving in the workplace in order to accomplish goals. A highlight of the course is the United Way and NFL sponsored Character Playbook online lesson, which, through online learning modules, focuses on establishing healthy relationships. (Funded by the Shelby County United Way)
Eighth-grade curriculum addresses manners and ethics, career and life planning, and communication. Sidney Police Officer Mike McRill visits with classes to talk about social media and its potential impact on their future careers. The class also spends three days, in cooperation with SMS school counselor Anne Geise, exploring the Ohio Means Jobs website. Students take assessments to help pair them with potential job opportunities based on their interests and personality and then research three careers in further detail.
To encourage students to continue in the Workforce Academy program at the high school, all eighth graders visit the SHS Workforce Academy to see the two dedicated classrooms, meet the teachers, and learn more about the program from the SHS students.
SHS course offerings currently include Career Exploration, Career Success, Skills Academy, and Tech Labs I and II. Curriculum introduces guest speakers, job shadowing, field trips, and possible internships, allowing students to gain first-hand experience and exposure to in-demand careers in Shelby County. The courses are designed to help students acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes important in the global world, benefitting both students entering college as well as those going directly into the workforce during or after high school. Students enrolled in Tech Lab I can earn college credit through Rhodes State.
This past fall more than 400 SMS and SHS students attended the Career Exploration Academy at the fairgrounds. This event, sponsored by the Workforce Partnership and Shelby County United Way, exposed students to 40 Shelby County companies through hands-on demonstrations and allowed them the chance to speak with company representatives regarding career opportunities.
So far in the 2017-18 school year, twenty-eight students have had the opportunity to job shadow at county businesses in the areas of manufacturing, service, healthcare, transportation and construction.
Logan Searcy, a current Tech Lab II student, travelled with RCI to India in September. He and program graduate, Brock Fleming, had the opportunity to tour Turbo Energy Unlimited and ABI, two companies that produce automotive parts, to see how manufacturing processes used at these companies differ from production in the United States. While there, they visited the Matrix School, a technical training institute for students ages 14-18 interested in manufacturing careers. The two were also able to experience Indian culture through sightseeing.
Workforce Academy recognized Manufacturing Week by touring multiple manufacturing sites including RCI, Reliable Castings, Detailed Machining, Norcold, and Honda Mfg. in Anna to experience the vast career opportunities these facilities offer.
In observance of Skilled Trades Month, students had the opportunity to participate in the first ever Skilled Trades Ninja Warrior Challenge. Sponsored by Ferguson Construction, Slagle Mechanical, and Area Energy and Electric, students were tasked to perform basic skills at various stations while competing against fellow classmates and students. Students employed safe operating skills while they used a screw gun, tightened a bolt with an impact, hammered a nail, and simulated being an electrical lineman while applying a fake power line to a post while wearing lineman gloves.
Students worked on various community service projects throughout the year. Tech Lab I students teamed with Ferguson Construction and the YMCA to deliver a playhouse for the YMCA daycare students. Students sanded, painted, and accessorized the playhouse and assisted in the delivery to the YMCA. Additionally, last spring, students worked at Sidney Alive’s new offices clearing and adding new landscaping to the outside courtyard.
Workforce Academy at SMS is taught by Renee Davis; at SMS, the courses are taught by Sharon Maurice and Stephanie Davis. All instructors have vast experience in the workforce outside of education.
Notable student achievements:
• Rachel Trudeau was one of 18 statewide winners of the 2017 American Legion Americanism and Government Test. SHS has had 30 state winners since 1970.
• SHS Academia won the Shelby County Tournament for 10th consecutive year, going undefeated in every county match since 2007. SHS Academia has claimed 20 county titles since the start in 1975.
• Sidney football had its most successful season since the late 1980s, advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1989. They were able to bring back the Battered Helmet (Piqua) and retain the Little Brown Jug (Greenville). The Yellow Jacket offense was one of the best in Division 2, averaging 41.2 points per game, third most in school history (1968 and 1970). As a team, the 4,720 yards in 10 games eclipsed the previous Total Offense school record set by the 1968 team.
Individual records broken include:
• Isaiah Bowser with 45 rushes in a game vs Bellefontaine
• Isaiah Bowser with 2389 rushing yards in a season, breaking the previous record of 1877 set by Bowser.
• Isaiah Bowser with 413 rushing yards in a game vs Xenia, breaking the previous record of 307 by Kris Haines (1974)
• Isaiah Bowser with 503 yards total offense (rushing and passing) in a game vs Xenia, breaking the previous 348 yards record by Steve Williams (1968)
• Hallie Truesdale with 51 PAT makes in season, breaking the previous record 35 set by Danny Dean (2015)
• Bowser and teammate Devan Rogers will join Lorenzo Taborn (SHS 2016) as full ride NCAA D1 student athletes; the first to do so from Sidney in over 20 years for football.