Vantage Career Center has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the CTE Construction Expansion Program, as part of the state operating budget. A visit from the Lt. Governor Jon Husted, who awarded the grant, included a tour of the facility and a round table discussion with Vantage board members, staff, students, and other local partners.
“This grant is not just a financial boost; it's a game changer for our school and our community,” says Superintendent Rick Turner. “This funding will enable us to expand our offerings and enhance our facilities, thus serving more students and bolstering our local workforce.”
The heart of the expansion at Vantage lies in illuminating the surface lot used by our high school and adult Commercial Drivers License (CDL) Training program. This addition will allow the program to offer year-round driver training courses during the evening hours, a significant step toward meeting the growing demand for skilled CDL drivers. The need within the community is significant and this grant will enable Vantage to fulfill it. Turner states, “We anticipate that our enrollment will double, leading to more infrastructure and additional instructors, thus strengthening our community's workforce.”
Ag and Industrial Power Tech senior, Maddie Osborn (Lincolnview), is grateful for the opportunity to receive her Class A CDL to enhance her future goals of becoming a diesel mechanic. “I came to Vantage to gain a hands-on experience in the Ag and Industrial Power Technology Program. Vantage has opened up so many opportunities for me, and I wouldn’t have the job, nor the skills I have now if I hadn’t taken advantage of these opportunities. The beginning of my career has been beyond successful as a student on work release this year. I am also a student in our school’s CDL program, and obtaining my CDL will open many more doors for me as I pursue being an experienced diesel mechanic. I am very thankful for the grant we received for future students in these programs to benefit from.”
In addition, the grant will also be used toward the two-acre, on-campus public safety training facility that will support both the school district and local public safety agencies. As Vantage continues its commitment to expanding the fire and safety training capabilities, it will also be helping to fill the shortage of firefighters in our region. “Having already gone through the Public Safety program in both Fire and EMS, I can say I am extraordinarily excited to see this project come to life,” says Vantage adult education graduate Matt Saunier. “A state-of-the-art training facility will only enhance the hard work put in by students and instructors. Finding men and women in the community to fill the role of first-responder is difficult and the accessibility of a public safety training space will attract more individuals and improve recruitment. When it comes to emergencies, time is of the essence and having the ability to train in scenarios that are as close to “real world” as possible are vital to the success of a rescue or fire suppression.”
Turner echoed Saunier, adding that “the inclusion of a fire training structure will not only make our students more attractive candidates for employment in the industry, but also benefit our local fire departments by reducing the time and cost of training new recruits.” Turner continues, “This addition will ensure that Vantage students are well-prepared to handle the challenges of firefighting in real-life scenarios, strengthening our local public safety departments.”
Administrative team members Ted Verhoff and Paula Vantilburg, both supervisors, shared that Vantage high school programs that have a direct pathway into these enhanced training opportunities are averaging full capacity for enrollment, including; Construction Equipment Technology, Electricity, Industrial Mechanics, Criminal Justice, Health Technology, and Sport Exercise Therapy.
Closing remarks were given by Superintendent Rick Turner, “we would like to express our gratitude to Lt. Governor Husted, Governor Dewine, and the Ohio Legislature for recognizing the importance of Career Technical Education and workforce development. Their support is a testament to their commitment to our community's future. Thank you Lt. Governor Husted for your ongoing support and for believing in the power of Career Technical Education to transform lives and provide a much needed skilled workforce for our community.”Photos of the visit can be found here