UVCC partnerships lead to program success

Set-up helps students and employers.

High school students’ Cammie Clement and Dale Garber’s involvement in the Upper Valley Career Center’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration program during the past school year landed them apprenticeships this summer and beyond.

Successes such as those apprenticeships helped lead to the program’s selection this spring as one of nine nationally to receive the Excellence in Action Award from the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.

Clement of Piqua and Garber of Greenville chose to enroll in the Career Center program beginning in fall 2014. During the recently concluded school year, they qualified for apprenticeships at Emerson in Sidney and Wat-Kem Mechanical in Troy, respectively, by meeting requirements such as attendance and grades.

Those apprenticeships will turn into school-work rotations during their senior year at the Career Center.

That set-up is a “win-win for the students and employers” who have increasingly made it clear they need skilled employees, said Scott Naill, Career Center HVAC/R program instructor

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He along with Tony Trapp, paraprofessional/apprenticeship coordinator, and Frank Harris, science teacher, work to coordinate an educational program that also can set students on the path to post secondary institutions such as nearby Edison Community College or Dayton’s Sinclair and other colleges. Other possibilities include the military or a job with an area business following graduation.

“The program success has a lot to do with a 40-plus member advisory committee,” Naill said. Among committee members are Congressman Jim Jordan, state representatives and senators, wholesalers, manufacturers, mechanical contractors, pipe fitters and residential heating and air conditioning companies.

Employers of all sizes, from Fortune 500s to mom-and-pops, are involved.

Trapp said employers are looking for talented young people without habits. “The employers can create those habits within students,” he said. Students also learn soft skills.

Clement said she likes to work and will be able to utilize various skills acquired in the program while at Emerson. “I tell my friends they have all of these opportunities here they are missing out on,” she said of the Career Center.

Garber is a state sheet metal fabrication champion and will compete in a national skills competition later this month. “Coming here was a really good choice, especially this program. It is a jump-start to your career,” he said.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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