VAN WERT — Students who were matched with employers and declared to work in industries such as carpentry, welding and precision machining were recognized during a ceremony Friday at Vantage Career Center in Van Wert.
The First Annual Career Advancement Program Signing Day kicked off In-Demand Jobs Week that is May 6 to 10. It is a statewide celebration of jobs, industries and skills that are in demand in Ohio.
The signing day initiative came straight from Lt. Gov. Jon Husted’s office stressing the need for an upgraded workforce, according to Rick Turner, Vantage Career Center superintendent.
“Ohio has established an attained goal that 65% of Ohioans ages 25 to 64 will have a degree, certificate or other post-secondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025,” Turner said. Vantage Career Center issued 807 industry recognized credentials last year, an increase of 27% over the previous year and 7% more valued credentials so far have been obtained by Vantage students this year.
There were 16 businesses and 22 students who participated in the signing day that honored the students who have “signed” for full-time employment upon graduation with their employers.
“This early placement has become so much more than students could ever get through a basic shadowing program because they are entering the workforce with real skills they have learned at Vantage, and they hit the ground running,” said Mike Knott, Vantage Career Center student services supervisor.
The Career Advancement Program focuses on integrating students into high demand local employment opportunities through three phases of advancing students’ careers. The three phases include internships between junior and senior years, early placement during senior year and career placement upon graduation.
Dante Sampson, a senior at Vantage Career Center, signed with Miller Brothers Construction, Archbold. He will do an apprenticeship program with the construction company.
“I love carpentry and hands-on skills. I have a great future ahead of me, and my goal is to be a carpenter one day,” Sampson said.
Tim Gerken, Miller Brothers Construction superintendent, said the students have experience before they go into their trade.
“They have training in what they will be doing and we will hone their skills,” Gerken said. He said employees are retiring in the construction industry and there are younger employees needed to fill the spots. The students who will be hired will help with constructing bridges.
Tony Unverferth, Vantage Career Center High School director, was the featured speaker for the signing day and thanked the local businesses and their representatives for attending the event.
“The relationships we have built with your companies are priceless in the development of our programs and each of the students in them,” Unverferth said.
LuAnne Cooke, lieutenant governor’s office regional liaison, read a letter on behalf of the lieutenant governor who was unable to attend.
“Gaining an education at one of Ohio’s career and technical education centers is a great pathway to success,” Cooke read. “The education you received and the skills you have learned will be invaluable as you enter the workforce.”
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.