Bath schools plans career tech expansion

BATH TOWNSHIP — Bath schools is expanding its career technical offerings following a $2 million grant from the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

“We want to make sure that when (students) walk out of high school, that we’re preparing them as best as we can for the opportunities that are out there,” said Brian Jesko, principal at Bath High School.

Bath schools partners with Apollo Career Center and Rhodes State College to provide students access to career technical education programs like health sciences, engineering, education and industrial technology, but only 23% of graduating seniors earned industry credentials, according to the district’s grant application.

The grant will allow Bath schools to invest in new techologies and expand credential and pre-apprenticeship opportunities for students as the district places greater emphasis on career-oriented instruction.

Plans call for an existing classroom at the high school to become an advanced manufacturing lab outfitted with equipment like CNC operators and plasma cutters, while health sciences students could start performing virtual dissections on a 3-D anatomage table district officials would like to purchase, according to the grant application.

Portions of the high school library may be converted into makerspaces or career labs, Jesko said.

Health sciences students will soon have the opportunity to earn mental health technician certifications too, Jesko said, while engineering students will see more course offerings and credential opportunities and the high school’s industrial technology program will transition into an advanced manufacturing pathway with additional credentials available.

The grant will benefit Bath Middle School’s career exploration rotation too.

The 16-day rotation introduces seventh and eighth grade students to careers as diverse as marketing, finance, construction, mechanics and software coding, during which students experiment with 3-D printers, laser engravers and other high-tech equipment.

“We want to show kids that these are the (careers) that are out here,” said Cam Staley, principal at Bath Middle School.

“We hope that if we pique their interest in something as they move into high school, they have a better understanding before they get into our high school internship program.”

Bath schools is the only school district in Allen County that will receive a grant from the Department of Education and Workforce’s career technical education equipment grant program, which awarded $67.7 million Monday to 56 schools across the state.

“Ohio’s career and technical education programs are essential to advancing workforce readiness opportunities for students,” Director Stephen Dackin said in a press release Monday. “These grants will ensure schools are providing dynamic teaching and learning experiences and giving students the hands-on training, essential knowledge and valuable skills to succeed.”