FAIRBORN – The Greene County Career Center is expanding opportunities for Fairborn High School Students and students who attend other district high schools in the area.
Greene County Career Center Board of Education Vice President Mike Uecker, was on hand at the Dec. 7 Fairborn City Schools Board of Education meeting to present the center’s quarterly report to Superintendent Mark North and school board members. Uecker represents the Fairborn City School District on the career center’s board of education.
The Greene County Career Center is continuing its mission to empower students through advanced technologies, integrated instruction, and community partnerships to succeed in career, college and life.
Uecker said the career center had just concluded career awareness days at the main campus, located on West Enon Road near Xenia. According to Uecker, more than 850 high school sophomores from seven Greene County school districts attended the three-day event and experienced career opportunities in the labs at the center.
“Probably most significant was the fact that we had a larger than normal contingent of students from Beavercreek High School. I conjecture that it was probably related to the fact we have a new aerodynamics-engineering initiative going on out there, and it has attracted a lot of attention,” Uecker said. “This is part of our ‘Take Flight Initiative’ in which we are trying to attune our curricula to the needs of the aerospace, aviation, manufacturing and medical industries here in the Miami Valley and Southwest Ohio.”
Uecker is also helping with a new strategic plan at the career center that includes not only new programs, but new facilities as well.
“We are working diligently in multiple, different venues to try to locate a place to have our new facilities, the money to do that, and all the planning that goes into that,” said Uecker.
Currently, the strategic plan is still in the political development stage, but Uecker noted that the planning committee would be asking families throughout Greene County for their input during the planning process.
“We want to find out what they think about the career center and to gauge what we have to do to get future support, should we require additional funding over and beyond what we currently receive through property taxes,” Uecker said.
Uecker will also represent the Greene County Career Center and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base industry on the Greene County Business Advisory Council, which is currently forming at the Greene County Educational Service Center to examine different ways to connect students to jobs. Membership includes district superintendents, school board members, and representatives from Greene County businesses.
“Basically, what we hope to do is to be more successful at bringing the schools and the business community together, and we are hoping that this is a win-win for providing exposure to careers and jobs for high schoolers and workers for the industries,” Uecker said.
Lastly, on a personal note, Uecker reported that he had also been helping the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering instructor at Xenia High School with his aerospace courses. PLTW is a not-for-profit organization that develops STEM curricula for use by elementary, middle, and high schools across the country. The Xenia Community Schools District currently offers several Project Lead the Way courses and programs at various schools in the district.
“I have been down there several times to provide lectures and tutoring on different aspects of aviation, including why airplanes fly,” Uecker said. “I would be more than happy to assist similar efforts at Fairborn High School as well.”
State officials have recently renewed their emphasis on career and technical education in Ohio. Superintendent North told school board members that the business advisory council came about after the Office of Ohio Governor John Kasich sent out a directive to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
The governor instructed the ODE to develop standards for school districts that would enable them to operate groups and business advisory councils throughout the state. Many school districts have established the business advisory council through their counties’ educational service centers.
“It makes perfect sense in Greene County to do this rather than eight individual school districts forming committees. All the communities can join together because of the way our business industry is and the influence Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has on this county,” North said.
He noted that representatives from the school districts, businesses and industries in the county are already meeting despite the fact the ODE has not yet established the standards. However, this way the committee will be able to meet quarterly requirements, said North.
“We have developed a mission statement, and we are looking to recruit more individuals from businesses and industries here in Greene County to join and to give input,” North said. “We want to make sure that our school districts are on the right track preparing young people for careers, as well as college. The input from various businesses and industries in the county will provide us with the information about how we can improve and do a better job preparing our students for future careers in Greene County.”
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News.