Written by Mr. Brad Street, North Lawrence Community Schools Career Center Director.
The North Lawrence Career Center was established and opened the doors for students in the fall of 1970. Community involvement started for the Career Center a couple of years before when individuals from the community and the school corporation investigated and made the decision that Vocational Education was a good investment for the students, employers, and the community. The skills for employment in the trades for this community required that students learn to use their hands and minds to meet local labor market needs.
That was true then as it is now as the Career Center continues to evolve and change. Vocational Education from 1970 has developed into Career & Technical Education. It is important to note this because the occupations associated with the programs at the Career Center have changed at the same time. When you look at this change over time you will see community involvement along the way.
Every program at the Career Center has an active Advisory Committee and is required to meet twice a year. Employers, parents, counselors, and economic development all play a significant role in the development, improvement, and growth of each program. Improving the curriculum or replacing the equipment needed to prepare each student is evaluated and planned out. The Advisory Committee provides the measure for the program to constantly improve. This crucial community involvement and investment is how we keep the Career Center programs current with Industry Standards. In 1970 we did not have computers but we had business and office programs. As time changes so will programs and this is why community involvement is essential to the quality and growth of Career Center programs.
The Director of the Career Center has an Advisory Committee as well which looks at the overall programs and interest of the entire school. The Career Center serves an assigned district #40 for the state and the North Lawrence Career Center serves students from Brownstown, Medora, Mitchell, North Lawrence, Orleans, and Shoals. This encompasses students attending the Career Center and programs housed in each high school. The Director’s Advisory Committee looks at the different aspects and applications to meet the community needs for all six participating school districts. Community members from each participating school district are invited to be on the Director’s Advisory Committee so that every high school student has an opportunity to take a program and advance their future.
Why is this community involvement so important you may ask? Students enrolled in Career & Technical Education programs graduate at a higher level than students that do not enroll in a program. Students enrolled in programs can receive college credits at the same time. Each dual college credit program is aligned to teach the same curriculum as the post-secondary school dual credit agreement. This can save students and parents a significant amount of money, allows them to complete college earlier, and return to their community for gainful employment at higher wages.
Students enrolled in Career & Technical Education tend to stay and live in their community with their family. Children of Career & Technical Education graduates tend to attend college at a higher rate. Career & Technical Education is a foundational building block to the growth and stability of a community. Employment in high wage for jobs in demand promotes buying homes and paying taxes in their communities. They want good schools and strong communities founded in economic growth and development. Career & Technical Education is a key factor for communities and what we want for America. In conclusion Career & Technical education is completely about community involvement.