Career-tech competitions help students develop skills


By Ron Bolender



It is competition season at Greene County Career Center as career-technical student organizations (CTSO’s) prep for state and national skills events. All career center students enrolled in either a main campus or satellite programs are members of one of these organizations. These local chapters are integral in helping students develop networking and leadership skills while participating in leadership conferences, competitions and community service projects.

Currently, Greene County Career Center sponsors local chapters in the following CTSO’s:

SkillsUSA works to improve the quality of our nation’s future skilled workforce through the development of Framework skills that include personal, workplace and technical skills grounded in academics. Programs involved at GCCC include Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Digital Media, Electrical Wiring, Construction Technology, Auto Collision Repair, Automotive Technology, Welding, Engineering and Career X.

National FFA Organization is probably the most recognizable CTSO nationwide. Our FFA chapters include Power Equipment Mechanics, Equine Science, Natural Resource Technology and Veterinary Science on the main campus along with all of the agricultural and environmental systems classes taught throughout Greene County.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) consists of the award-winning Culinary Arts program. This organization focuses on personal growth, leadership development and career preparation opportunities for students in family and consumer sciences.

Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) looks to develop leaders in the global health community through education, collaboration, and experience. GCCC’s Health Science Academy and Sports and Exercise Science program participate in HOSA. The Biotechnology program at Xenia High School participates as well.

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. The Marketing programs offered at Beavercreek and Fairborn High Schools are members of DECA.

Business Professionals of America (BPA) is an organization that supports business and information technology programs. The career center’s Information Technology program is one of the most active chapters in southwest Ohio.

Greene County Career Center’s reputation for excellence in skill events goes back to the late 1960’s. Retired Drafting teacher Bill Poe was nationally recognized as a SkillsUSA (at one time called Vocational-Industrial Clubs of America) chapter advisor and coached nine different students to the podium at national competitions.

Traditionally, career-technical schools like Greene County Career Center do not sponsor sports, band, orchestra or theater. Students regularly participate in those activities at their affiliated school district. Some view their CTSO participation as their main extra-curricular activities.

BPA advisor and Information Technology teacher Richard Kayser sees his competitors advance from local events all the way through regional, state and national competitions. BPA currently exists in 33 states and over 5000 students come together at the national leadership conference.

“The competitions are especially important,” said Kayser. “For some, it is their chance to shine, their moment to make a headline.”

Jessica Taylor is a chapter advisor for SkillsUSA. She sees first-hand the value of CTSO participation. “Competitions are huge for our students,” said Taylor. “Not only do they have a chance to travel for competitions and bring home medals, they get to show off their knowledge at these events. The further they go into the competitions the more connections they make by meeting industry partners in the process. Students that get involved take pride in being a part of their CTSO. This is their ‘sport’ at GCCC.”

It’s also a “sport” that brings attention to workforce development in Greene County.

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By Ron Bolender

Ron Bolender is the public relations representative for the Greene County Career center and guest columnist.

Ron Bolender is the public relations representative for the Greene County Career center and guest columnist.