High school students from Butler Tech’s mechatronics celebrated their recently renovated and expanded learning space by using a robot they constructed to cut the ceremonial ribbon. Joining them in the celebration of the new learning space at Butler Tech’s D. Russel Lee campus in Fairfield Township were local and state politicians who praised the program. (Photo by Michael D. Clark/Journal-News)

Robot cuts ribbon at opening ceremony for new Butler Tech program

Butler Tech officials were joined by local and state politicians as they celebrated the new and expanded learning spaces for two of the career school system’s career training programs, mechatronics and cosmetology, offered at the school’s main D. Russel Lee campus in Fairfield Twp..

The ceremonial ribbon cutting in mechatronics was done by a student-constructed robot that clipped a ribbon before its student controllers directed it to rolling around and do some victory twirls.

Jon Graft, superintendent of the rapidly expanding Butler Tech system, was also celebrating.

MORE: Butler Tech leader looks back on the career school’s historic growth

“We’re really excited to open up our mechatronics lab, and these students are going to have a broad set of experiences utilizing robots,” Graft said.

Butler Tech is one of Ohio’s largest career school systems, serving more than 18,500 high school and adult students, providing job and career training and certification in dozens of industries ranging from the culinary arts to welding to robotics and drone piloting.

The school system has drawn increasing national attention for its strategy of working closely with private industries to modernize its programs to better serve as a supplier of trained and certified teens and young adults ready to work and pursue careers.

Earlier this year, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos toured some of Butler Tech’s classes, and work is now finishing up on an expansion of the career school district’s showcase Bioscience Center in West Chester Twp.

MORE: America’s public schools leader tours Butler Tech

Last year, Butler Tech expanded by adding an adult career education campus in Monroe, a drone piloting program at the Middletown Airport and the addition of the former Hamilton Schools career school.

MORE: Butler Tech now runs Hamilton Schools career education program

Ohio Senator Bill Colely (R-Liberty Twp.) joined in the ribbon cutting for the new cosmetology classroom spaces and told the crowd of teenagers watching that marketable skills are more important for lifetime employment than college degrees.

“Success isn’t a degree. It isn’t something you hang a wall. Success is something inside of you. And success is defined by each one of you … you each make your own definition of success and (ask) am I achieving what I want to achieve,” Coley told the teens.

“You guys are participating in a great program here and you are helping to find out who you are and your helping to define the word success and what it means to you.”

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