LIMA — The Lima City Schools will highlight its career technology programs during the month of October.
Currently, the district has 10 career tech programs, including automotive technology, biomedical science, construction trades, early childhood education, engineering technology, graphic communications, hospitality and food service management, marketing education, patient care technology and welding and metal fabrication.
“We sometimes wonder if our community is fully aware of the number of career tech programs we offer at Lima Senior High and the quality and the depth that we go to, to make sure our students are getting those real-life work experiences,” said Jill Ackerman, Lima schools superintendent. “Because of that, we decided that we wanted to spend the next month focusing on career tech and making the public aware of the programs.”
The district’s career tech program earned an A in post-program outcomes on the recent state report card. The post-program outcomes measures the proportion of students that are employed, in an apprenticeship or enrolled in post-secondary education within six months after graduation.
“That shows that this program is doing a great job in preparing our students for the future,” Ackerman said. “These aren’t traditional classrooms. They are learning labs, and we like them to replicate real work environments. Our students are getting hands-on, real work experience right here, including operating an auto garage that is open to the public. There is no better way to learn than through hands-on education.”
The career tech program recently introduced new expectations and guidelines for students after hearing from local business leaders what they were looking for in employees.
“As we continue to improve the career tech programs and the expectations that the community and the employers have, the career tech staff put together a handbook for students based on industry feedback that we received and what they like to see. So we feel that that book brings the program to another level,” said Fran Mort, principal at Lima Senior.
Business leader Tom Ahl supports Lima Senior High’s career tech program and students. The dealership donates vehicles to the automotive program for the students to work and learn on. The dealership also employs students.
“We’re just so fortunate to be asked to be involved in this program,” said Mindi Ahl, with Tom Ahl Dealerships. “We’re huge believers. For the past two years, we have donated a vehicle to the auto department. Last year, we hired Matt Burden, fresh out of the program, and he is working out awesome. We’re excited with what’s going on at Lima Senior.”
Connecting area businesses with the school and the students is an important aspect to the career tech programs.
“Community partners like Tom Ahl are crucial to our tech programs,” Ackerman said. “We want to connect students to businesses to enhance their learning and open doors for them in our community after graduation.”
Ackerman urged potential new partners to call the career tech office at 419-996-3060.
“This is a win-win situation for our entire community. You can help us shape our program around what you need, thus producing your next generation of employees,” Ackerman said.
Ackerman hinted at an additional career tech program in the works.
“When we get it up and running, it’s going to be exciting,” she said. “We have a lot to offer here at Lima Senior High, but I can tell you that we are not done yet. We continue to look at trends and talk to industry to determine what programs might benefit our students. We want our students to be employable, and we hope that they find work right here in our community.”
Reach Merri Hanjora at 567-242-0511.