Building Talent Together
The other key project Workforce Wayne has been working on since its inception is a Career and Technical Center for Wayne and Pike Counties. Wayne and Pike Counties are two of only three counties in the Commonwealth not served by this type of facility. So, what does this mean? Our high school students have limited means of gaining industry training while they are attending high school and our adult population does not have the opportunity to gain training after normal school hours either. Our school districts offer a smattering of career and technical programs, but they have limited space and limited resources without a center. They are nowhere close to offering the number of state-of-the-art programs that could be offered in a dedicated facility. Career Technology Centers across the Commonwealth are training their student population by day and their adult population by night in programs such as welding, plumbing, electronics, nanotechnology, dental assisting, CDL/heavy equipment operations, advertising design/print making, masonry, diesel mechanics, pre-engineering, licensed practical nursing and many, many more careers.
Career and technical education can provide the preparation our community requires for the demanding roles that need to be filled in the 21st Century economy. The U.S. Department of Labor projects 70% of the jobs created in the next decade will require education beyond high school, but only 20% will require a four-year college degree. A dedicated Career and Technical Center can fill this gap and become a critical component of workforce development for adults and our youth. It is Workforce Wayne’s vision and our goal that our area adds to our list of assets a well prepared, highly trained workforce that can meet and exceed the skills required for the 21st century.
[Lyndsay J. Birmelin is the executive director of Workforce Wayne, Inc., a 501(c)(3) partnership of business, education, government, economic development, employment services, and community entities in Wayne and Pike Counties. Workforce Wayne (www.workforcewayne.org) and its 25-member board of directors is working towards an effective workforce delivery system.]