Home grown: Hamilton Schools bucks local career tech trend

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Home grown: Hamilton Schools bucks local career tech trend

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Hamilton High School Career Technical Education (CTE) students Miranda Keith and Dominick Falcon say they appreciate Hamilton Schools long-standing decision to offer its own career training on the high school campus. Hamilton Schools is the only one among 10 Butler County districts to not partner with Butler Tech for career learning.

Despite having Ohio’s largest career tech school in its area, Hamilton Schools decided long ago to go it alone with their own career program.

The home-grown approach – first started in the 1950s - has worked well, say Hamilton School officials. And despite some partnership overtures from Butler Tech during the decades, the district has continued its steadfast commitment to independent career learning.

“We’re a comprehensive high school, which means we have all our career tech programs right here at the high school campus,” said Gene Hutzelman, administrator for Hamilton Schools’ Career Tech Education (CTE) center adjacent to the high school.

“Unlike Butler Tech or Great Oaks (Hamilton County) or Warren County Career Center (all of which have multiple campuses), we have all the career programs right here,” said Hutzelman.

The CTE is one of about two dozen of Ohio’s 613 school districts statewide offering on-campus career training.

Joni Copas, spokeswoman for Hamilton Schools, said the district “has had career tech programs for years, but it was called vocational classes in the 1950s as we offered automotive, drafting, machine trades, and electricity and electronics.”

“We want our students to stay at Hamilton High School to participate in all the activities and events that we offer,” said Copas.

Outside of Hamilton city limits, Butler Tech dominates as the career option for high school juniors and seniors in Butler County’s nine other public school districts.

The differences between Hamilton’s Career Tech Education center and Butler Tech are significant, he said.

Butler Tech serves local high school juniors and seniors – along with adult students – while CTE long ago extended its career training to include high school sophomores.

Proximity to the high school – the CTE is connected by short walkways – makes sense since the 600 students enrolled in the center’s nine career programs is about a third of Hamilton High School’s total enrollment, said Hutzelman.

“There are no transportation costs and kids can stay here (on-campus) with their friends and they are right here to participate in school activities and athletics and clubs. We think it’s a huge advantage to be a comprehensive high school,” he said.

Moreover, the CTE’s centralized location allows for long-standing partnerships with local industries, businesses and medical centers and others interested in helping train and eventually hire Hamilton graduates.

“We can connect to the community here and service the community,” he said.

CTE’s programs are: automotive technology; carpentry; cosmetology; engineering design; exercise science; programming and software development; health careers; information support and services and teacher academy.

Automotive technology student Miranda Keith is already working part-time at a local auto supply shop while learning at CTE.

“This is the best class I’ve ever been in,” said Miranda. “You can work on cars all day and I take classes in both schools. It’s a more of a hands-on learning and I like that.”

Classmate Dominick Falcon said CTE “teaches me stuff I can use later in life. And it gives me something new to learn every day.”

For more information on CTE go to: www.hamiltoncityschools.com

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