In 1932, my grandfather graduated from East High School in Youngstown.
He had two options for employment after graduation: take a minor- league baseball contract or accept a job at the LTV Steel Mill. He chose stability, so in 1934, he started working at LTV, and for the next 42 years he was a painter without much additional training.
This job gave him everything a family needed to thrive: a house, a car, school for his children and security. In 1976, he retired with a full pension and family health benefits.
He died in 2002 and, for the most part, so has this type of career scenario.
The job market in 2019 and beyond is and will be different. Technology and specializations have created an in-demand job market that requires specific skills and continued education/ training.
Positions are getting harder to fill due to the lack of training. Advanced manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, technology, financial services and automotive industries dominate the central Ohio job market.
In central Ohio alone, there are more than 36,000 open positions listed on the Ohio Means Jobs website. Of those jobs, only about 4,500 require less than a high school diploma.
Does this mean everyone needs at least a bachelor's degree? Absolutely not.
Industry credentials, apprenticeships, microcredentials, associate's programs and business/educational institution partnerships have changed the landscape of post-secondary education, and the South-Western City School District is on the leading edge of this shift.
Our students can take advantage of programs that directly connect them to central Ohio's in-demand industries. Programs like Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Logistics, Cyber Security, Health Information Management, Mobile App Design, Hospitality and Event Management, Customer Service with a Bilingual Component, NCCER Construction and Medical Interpreting along with the district's already strong career-tech offerings have provided students with clear career pathways.
In 2018, South-Western students earned 469 industry credentials. In any given year, 15% to 20% of career-tech seniors take part in Early Job Placement, working in a career for all or part of the school day. This year, four Cyber Security students completed a six-week internship with OhioHealth's Cyber Security department -- a first of its kind.
The 2018 ODE Career Tech Report Card notes that 95.5% of South-Western's career-tech graduates were either in a two- or four-year college program, an apprenticeship, the military or employed in a career. Eighty-four percent passed their program skill assessments while in high school.
The district's career-tech students had a 99.3% graduation rate in 2017.
Relationships with Columbus State Community College, COTC, Ohio State University, Central New Mexico Community College and other professional organizations have provided students with free college credit while in high school.
The job market and rising debt for college have changed how we look at education. This is a small sampling of the amazing impact that the district's career-tech programs and the South-Western Career Academy can have on student success -- none of which we could do without our wonderful community partners.
I am extremely proud to be leading a school with so many dedicated staff and committed students. SWCA and career-technical education embody the district's mission of "Education for the Real World is Our Business."
You can learn more swcsdcareertech.com.
James Marion is the principal at South-Western Career Academy.