More high school students interested in tech education to help with college or bypass for trades

Miami Valley CTC plans to expand as demand for career tech rises

More high school students and adults are turning to career technical centers to help them get the education needed for higher paying jobs and in some cases to either bypass or get them ready for college.

To meet the demand from students and employers, the Miami Valley Career Technical Center is adding 10 new programs at its main campus in Clayton and its satellite programs in the next year.

Nick Weldy, the superintendent of the MVCTC, said there has been an increased demand for career technical education, both because of support from the state and changes in student goals.

Many students will take career technical classes who want to go to college, Weldy said, because taking career tech classes helps students who want to go into engineering or health learn skills before they get onto campus.

“We’re seeing students of all different abilities from those who want to go right into the workforce up to valedictorians of our partner districts that are coming here because this is a great way to get a step up on college,” Weldy said.

The new trend toward career tech also is a reaction against the old wisdom that college was the only path. The state realized there weren’t enough people in trades, and that those trade jobs could make a lot of money.

Weldy said MVCTC was previously turning away between 350 to 500 students per year because there just wasn’t enough space to accept all the students who wanted to come.

Some of the programs that will be added for next school year include a pre-engineering course, a drones and GIS technologies course, and a pre-law and legal studies course, Weldy said.

Beyond the initial campus in Clayton, the MVCTC has expanded to 19 locations in partner school districts across the region. Next year, Huber Heights, Miamisburg and Northridge school districts are among those getting additional satellite programs.

Spokeswoman Kelly Herzog said the tech center is seeing an increase in enrollment for the main campus high school programs, with an all-time high number of applicants already received for the 2023-2024 school year.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted is one of the lawmakers who has made a point of increasing opportunities for career technical education. He said across the state, more people are interested in career technical education.

“Career tech is on the rise because employers need employees more than ever with technical skills,” Husted said. “And the jobs are available, and they’ll hire you right out of high school if you have these certifications.”

Both Weldy and Husted said they expect to see career tech education continue to expand.

“Especially with the support of the legislators and kind of what they’re putting into the most recent budget bill for Career Tech, they know they need to have that growth for Ohio to be economically viable, and they continue to support us,” Weldy said.

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