End of era?: Hamilton schools may join Butler Tech’s job training

A historic change may be coming for Hamilton High School students, as talks begin with Butler Tech to merge the high school’s job training program into the larger county-wide career school.

Hamilton schools have for years been the lone holdout among nine other Butler County public school districts in not partnering with the Butler Tech career schools spread throughout the county.

The Hamilton High School’s Career Tech Education (CTE) center, located adjacent to the high school, has offered nine career training programs annually for about 500 juniors and seniors.

Staying with a local career training program, which Hamilton has offered in various forms since the 1940s, provided advantages including saving on transportation costs and allowing students to easily participate in other school activities while in the program.

But Steve Isgro, president of the Hamilton Board of Education, said, “while having local control of these programs has its benefits, the district is limited in the offerings it can provide as compared to Butler Tech.”

In a joint statement issued recently, Isgro said, “we are committed to maintaining the best programs for all of our students. Based on what we have learned to this point, we believe a partnership with Butler Tech could reduce operational costs and expand educational opportunities for our students at the same time.”

Butler Tech is one of the largest career education systems in Ohio and offers dozens of constantly updated job-training programs – many with the cooperation of area industries – for thousands of high school and adult students.

Jon Graft, superintendent and CEO of Butler Tech, said, “we are excited to collaborate with Hamilton City Schools and explore how a partnership might provide additional value and opportunity for students and the community.”

“We are on the leading edge of a cultural shift that is placing greater emphasis on career technical education in preparing students for 21st century careers and lowering the cost of higher education. Hamilton has an outstanding CTE program today, and a partnership with Butler Tech could significantly expand the choices Hamilton students have to start pursuing their dreams,” said Graft.

Hamilton schools enroll 10,000 students and is one of the largest school districts in southwest Ohio.

Butler Tech serves about 1,400 students on its high school campuses and approximately 15,600 students daily through programs based in its associate high schools, middle schools and junior schools in local school districts. It serves more than 2,000 adult students a year in its adult education programs.

Besides nine Butler County school districts, Butler Tech also serves as the career education provider for Northwest schools in northern Hamilton County near the Butler County southern border.

Officials from both school systems said that although discussions have begun, no decisions have been made regarding any possible timelines for completion, programming changes or school facilities.

Middletown schools joined the Butler Tech system in 1995, and Monroe schools joined in 2000.

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