AKRON — An Ohio school district has brought back in-school driver’s ed classes to help more students earn licenses before they turn 18 as a way of finding employment.
Akron city schools is piloting the program, which takes place after school at a discounted cost, with scholarships available to help students further defray the cost.
Some businesses told the district that students’ lack of a license was a deal-breaker when it came to hiring, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
Students “are unable to even get their foot in the door if they don’t have their driver’s license,” Rachel Tecca, executive director of Akron’s College and Career Academies, told the paper.
In-school driver’s ed classes are largely a thing of the past, with private third-party providers taking the service over beginning a few decades ago.
Akron’s program will also be run by a private company, which offered the first classes as the city’s Buchtel high school this fall.
Antonio Evans, 16, studies masonry at Buchtel and wants to work in the field as soon as possible. But financial and time constraints meant he couldn’t take classes outside of school, likely missing the chance to do an internship. Without the program he would have had to wait until he was 18, he said.
TR Construction owner Joe Riley said earning a license is more than practical, since it shows an employee is committed, pays attention to detail and can be trained.
Riley is on the Akron district’s career advisory board and offered scholarships from his foundation to help support students earning their licenses.