East Allen county plans to expand trade schools

By: Jada Burtin

East Allen County will be adding another trade school to our community as they prepare for the launch of their Career and Technical Center in the 2020-2021 school year.

Trade schools have become a need in Allen County, and the United States as a whole. Construction and manufacturing industries hold the slot for one in five jobs, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD). They also predict that there will be a vast market and need for construction workers within the next ten years, estimating over 10,000 job openings within Allen County alone.

Kristi Sturtz, president at Sturtz Public Management Group and New Allen Rural Liaison attended the county council meeting on Oct.18 where she addressed the need for trade schools and what was being set in place to bring a solution to this issue.

Sturtz introduced the Career and Technical Center to the panel of council members and stated that the project will bring opportunities for students to learn skills in the trade field.

The Career and Technical Center will include the following six programs: automation and robotics, pharmacy technology, construction trades, health science, precision machining, and cybersecurity. The alternative school will also be housed there, a program designed to assist the educational and behavioral needs of students that could be difficult to accomplish in a traditional class setting.

The building will be a renovation project of the previous Meadowbrook Elementary School building, located on 1065 Woodmere Drive in New Haven, Indiana.

According to the media outlet IN Fort Wayne, Tim Wiegand, executive director of East Allen County’s Career, Alternative & Technical Education program, said that the institution is being designed to specifically accommodate the workforce needs of Allen County.

“All these programs are filling a workforce now that is really difficult to fill,” Wiegand said to IN Fort Wayne.

With the pressure of attending traditional college, many students miss out on the opportunities that trade schools offer which has caused a need for technically trained professionals.

Trade schools being offered during high school give students a head start at a potential career.
The Career Academy at Anthis has been providing students with technical and vocational training for over 30 years.

Robert Roebuck, assistant principal of the Career Academy at Anthis, gave insight on the importance of trade schools. He mentioned that studies have shown that students who attend a local career center are more likely to complete a college degree than a student who only attended traditional high school.

“Applied hands-on learning has always been the best way to teach a student, learn the theory and go practice the skills. This simple formula helps students to grow personally and professionally just like you did,” Roebuck said.

Roebuck also mentioned that finding space and teachers are their number one concern when it comes to expanding. He explained that the pay will need to increase in order to encourage teachers from different businesses and industries to work for them.

Janae Mcgill, former student of the Career Academy at Anthis, gave her perspective on attending a trade school and how it benefited her. She mentioned that attending the Career Academy gave her a head start in her career, as she currently is a licensed Cosmetologist and also a college student.

Mcgill also explained how attending a trade school saved her a lot of money.

“I only had to pay around $100-$200 for the two-year program versus paying anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000,” Mcgill said. “I also earned college credits for each year that I was in the program.”

She talked about the opportunities for networking that were provided to her through the Career Academy. Employers from different companies would come in and interview the students to prepare them for the real workforce. This also secured many students with job offers right after graduating, including Mcgill.

“Attending a trade school was one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Mcgill said. “I made many connections with other people in the same field. It also looks great on your resume.”

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