RIO GRANDE — Buckeye Hills Career Center students and programs celebrated the center’s first Career Signing Day where students signed documents of intent to join employment with area businesses and where Ohio’s Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and State Representative and Gallia native Ryan Smith were present to wish them well.
“This is the first year we’ve ever done it and today we had around 20 to 25 students and we also sign another 20 to 25 students tomorrow through SkillsUSA and those are our carpentry, construction programs and things of that nature,” said Buckeye Hills Superintendent Jamie Nash of Tuesday and Wednesday. “My goal is simple. In the next 12 to 24 months, I want every senior that is in line to graduate to be job placed by second semester their senior year…We’re looking at bringing in a full-time job placement coordinator…We had a good percentage today and will tomorrow. This is my first year here as superintendent. In the future, we want 75 to 85 percent job placement and we would like to have that percentage on signing day.”
Around 500 students attend the career center and 600 are slated to attend next year. Nash said across the state, career technical centers are on the incline.
“Folks are starting to realize how important career technical education is,” said Nash. “Not everybody needs a four-year degree. Sixty-six percent of Ohio’s in-demand jobs don’t require a degree. They only require career tech training and industry credentials. That’s our focus and our message here…We also want to save our students as much money as possible. While they attend here, (education) is free to them. Once they’re out of high school, that may not be the case.”
Several students were recognized during the day’s events for placing in competitions, some placing in the top-three of their class nationally in cybersecurity trade competitions. Buckeye Hills was recognized as a 2015 SkillsUSA National Models of Excellence recipient.
“One of the things that we’re doing is celebrating In-Demand Jobs Week,” said Husted. “There are 320 events across Ohio where someone from state government is going to be involved in trying to raise awareness about all the careers that are out there in high demand that pay great wages and can lead to a bright future for you and your family…You’re living in a really good time to get a career.”
Husted continued on to say that there were three types of skills that were important in employment. Life skills were important, such as being a good teammate, being self-motivated and being responsible. The second set of important skills he described were academic skills, being able to critically think, knowing what it takes to learn and to use reason and logic to draw conclusions. The last set of skills important to careers are technical skills, specific skills making one qualified for fields of employment.
“When you add all those up, that’s an education,” said Husted. “That’s what it takes to go out and be successful in life. You have to have all of those things. The reason I love technical education is because it’s all available right here for you to lead to great opportunities in life. I share this with young people all the time. The reason it’s helpful to get all this in high school is so you have a plan when you graduate because life can get pretty hard pretty quickly if you don’t have a plan. I can tell you employers out there today are thirsty for somebody who has life skills, academic skills and who has the technical skills they need to put people to work because there are great opportunities out there if you have that package. Employers need it. Just going to school isn’t good enough. You have to have a plan that goes with it so you can take advantage of what’s out there in life.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-46-2342, ext. 2103.