Attending college for four years after graduating high school is not the ideal path for some students. Going to college for one-year while still in high school and learning a skill that can lead directly to a well-paying job is a good option for some Cambridge High School students.
Through a partnership with Belmont College, nine Cambridge students will be employable by Memorial Day, four as State Tested Nurse Aides (STNAs) and five as welders.
The STNA students include seniors Kylie Pyers, Hannah Hamersley, and Zach Ogle and junior Kat Henthorne. The welding students include senior Evan Huff and juniors Zac Black, Larry Morgan, Jackson Froehlich, and Tayleigh Capuano.
“I’m so proud of these students for taking this step toward their futures,” Cambridge High School Career Navigator Lovel Quinn said. “Sometimes it’s hard for students to get out of their comfort zone and go into something when you don’t know the other students, but this is such a phenomenal opportunity.”
The partnership offers students with an interest in healthcare or the construction trades an opportunity to learn a skill that can lead to employment or give them a head start on a college, if they choose to pursue that pathway.
“In today's economy, having a college education and hands-on workforce training are the best investments a student can make in his or her future,” said Jeremy Vittek, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs at Belmont College. “By offering students a chance to get started early, we feel it is a great option for them to begin working toward their career objectives. The STNA certificate and welding certificate programs provide great opportunities for students to earn industry recognized credentials that lead to jobs.”
Quinn agrees pointing out the options for students.
“The welding students will become welding fabricators,” Quinn said. “As soon as they earn their certification, they can start working. They can do welding as a side job, they can do it while they are in college, or they can do it as a great fulltime career.”
For the STNA students, the options are similar. With the certification, students can go to work as STNAs or they can use the certification as a starting point for other health careers.
“This will give some of the students a head start for college,” Quinn added. “The STNA certification is a prerequisite for many LPN and other nursing programs.”
The partnership also provides students with an alternative path to graduation. If a student completes one of these programs and passes the certification test paired with the program, they will meet Ohio’s graduation requirements.
Both programs are offered at no cost to the students. Cambridge School District will cover the cost of the class, plus pay for the certification test, and the cost of some of the tools and clothing needed in the program.
“We are pleased to be partnering with local schools to provide college-level certificate programs to area high school students,” Vittek said. “As the community’s college, we feel it is important to foster relationships with local high schools and we couldn’t be more excited for this chance to assist local students in achieving their educational goals.”
The classes are offered at Belmont College on Mondays meaning the Cambridge students who are attending face-to-face this school year will not miss any scheduled class time at the high school to attend.
The students will attend class on campus for approximately five hours every Monday starting in November until sometime in April. Both programs require 80 hours of training.
Since students from neighboring districts will also be in the program, Cambridge will share busing responsibilities with East Guernsey School District.
“It is phenomenal how everyone worked together to make this happen,” Quinn said. “The administration here, plus the help and guidance from Belmont College, and the cooperation with other districts to work out the busing and details have been just great.”
The Career Navigation office at Cambridge High School strives to continually create and find opportunities for students.