At its June 3 meeting, the Hamilton County Council agreed to fund $425,000 over three years to support early implementation stages of the Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement.
The career center is a partnership between local school districts and other groups in Hamilton County to offer CTE, or career and technical education, pathways for students in trades such as energy and agriculture science, and skilled trades such as construction management, exercise science and other disciplines. Instead of constructing a career center, instead the school districts in Hamilton County are pledging to partner with other entities such as local chambers of commerce and the county to offer the CTE programs. The funding will go toward hiring an executive director for the career center, fund research and development and implement alignment and enrollment.
“This is an exciting time for the students in Hamilton County who will soon have access to new career considerations,” Hamilton County Councilor Steve Nation stated.
Nation and Hamilton County Councilor Ken Alexander encouraged the council to consider funding the initiative.
The career center executive director will work with county leadership, the school districts, chambers of commerce and other Hamilton County Economic Development Corp. stakeholders to create a five-year plan to detail what opportunities are currently available for high school CTE and ensure offerings at the new center meet the needs of students and employers.
Currently, 2 percent of the county’s students participate in CTE programs, but the council expects the number to increase when the offerings are available nearer to home. Now, students must travel to career centers in Marion County and other areas to receive CTE.
“We have already seen this happen at Hamilton Heights,” Hamilton Heights Supt. Derek Arrowood stated. “Three years ago, we started our own construction trades program with seven students. This fall we have 130 students enrolled in the same program. If we can offer these programs locally, we can dramatically increase the opportunities for our students locally.”
Alexander said approving a career center will benefit economic development in the county.
“Economic development is the life blood of our communities and with the growth of the county and increased need for a skilled workforce to support our local companies, this cross-community model will allow our schools to partner with the business community and Ivy Tech to best support the needs of each community and the County as a whole,” Alexander stated.
The career center is expected to offer programs for the 2023-24 school year. After two years at full student capacity, the center will be self-funded.
The center was approved 6-1, with Brad Beaver voting against funding. For more, visit hamiltoncounty.in.gov.