On May 20th, Campbell County Schools celebrated the Class of 2022 graduates who are directly entering the workforce as a result of their education, training, and experience as Career and Technical Education (CTE) students with a Signing Day Event at the Campbell County Technical Center.
"No matter your educational track, one thing is certain, it's all about finding a career you love," says Principal Jon Hardie. "Our CTE students have had a chance to explore and develop their unique talents and our CTE Signing Day celebrates our students that are committed to entering the workforce right out of high school and the local employers willing to invest in our young talent."
Campbell County Schools recognized a total of twenty CTE students from all four County high schools as they signed on to begin their careers at 14 different local businesses. These highly-motivated, career-focused students earned industry certifications, licenses, and accreditations for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill, high-demand fields, while also completing traditional high school coursework. On the day of the event, students and their new employers each signed letters of intent detailing the expectations for the student by the company and what these companies will provide in terms of compensation, benefits, and continued training.
CTE is an effective vehicle for responding to labor market changes and the workforce readiness needs of businesses. Strong public-private partnerships, such as those between these local businesses and the Campbell County Technical Center, ensure the educational programs directly address today’s workforce readiness challenges.
“We value the partnerships we have with local businesses so much,” says Ashley Wilson, Career Counselor at Campbell County Technical Center. “Our students greatly benefit from the variety of engagements we share; from classroom visits, field trips, short courses, our College and Career Day, and even apprenticeships and employment. We are so appreciative of these commitments from our partners and the relationships we have with them.”
The employers represented a variety of industries, reflecting the wide range of programming the Technical Center offers. Hancock Electric and ACW Electric each signed a graduate. Two local salons, Studio, Style & Spa and Southern Roots Hair Studio, found state-licensed workers from the Cosmetology program. Certified Nursing Assistant graduates will be filling positions at Generation Solutions, Heritage Hall Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center, Liberty Ridge Health and Rehab, as well as Runk and Pratt at Liberty Ridge. Simply Vanilla signed with a graduate from the Culinary Arts program. A variety of local automotive shops signed new workers, including Sandrof Auto Body, Piedmont Fleet Services, Bryant’s Garage and Body Shop, and Strong’s Automotive.
The employer with the most signees for the day was Bankers Steel, which signed a total of five new full-time employees (four graduates are pictured here) from this year’s graduating class. Amy Sawyer, Guidance Counselor at Brookville High School, explained that Bankers Steel has a 16-hour per week, 10-week training program, called Bankers High, which these students attended. Students apply for the program after they and their parents attend an initial interest meeting often as early as 10th grade. Bankers Steel hosts an open house tour of their on-site training classroom to ensure expectations and advantages of their training program are clear. Both the student and potential employer benefit from this on-site training, as it provides each the opportunity to determine if the other is a good fit before deciding whether to hire or be hired.
The US Chamber of Commerce reports that 74% of employers describe a persistent mismatch between the skills they need and the skills workers have. CTE programs prepare students for careers in in-demand fields and provide an affordable pathway to both a good-paying career and financial independence. As they begin their careers, these graduates have their industrial certifications in hand, ready to serve them well as they become valuable members of the local workforce.