County Council Agrees to Fund Project Over Three Years
(NOBLESVILLE, IN – JUNE 2, 2021)
Creation of a cross-community Hamilton County Center for Career Achievement advanced Wednesday night when the Hamilton County Council agreed to fund $425,000 over three years to support early implementation stages of the program.
Positioned as “an aspirational partnership to support the county and our workforce challenges,” the career center will expand school offerings, provide pathways to diverse opportunities, help meet the workforce needs of local employers, and keep students inside the county to take Career in Technical Education (CTE) classes now traditionally offered in nearby Marion County. The Center will not be housed in one school but in numerous systems throughout the county.
“This is an exciting time for the students in Hamilton County who will soon have access to new career considerations,” says Hamilton County Councilor Steve Nation, who along with Councilor Ken Alexander pushed for consideration of the initiative.
The county’s funds, through the Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC), will enable the hiring of a Career Center Executive Director, who will coordinate research and development, logistics, and alignment across county school districts. HCEDC currently manages Hamilton County’s 21st Century Talent Region initiatives through partnership with governmental, corporate, education and non-profit leaders.
The Career Center Executive Director will build on these relationships and work closely with county leadership, the school districts, chambers of commerce and other Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation (HCEDC) stakeholders to create a five-year plan that, when paired with a Comprehensive Local Needs Assessment (CLNA), will detail what opportunities are currently available for high school Career and Technical Education (CTE) and ensure offerings at the new Center meet the needs of students and employers. Ivy Tech Hamilton County is expanding, becoming an independent campus this July, and will be an asset to these efforts.
The development team believes, based on local enrollment trends in CTE offerings at independent districts, that closer proximity to programs and expanded course offerings will raise the current level of 2 percent participation by students in these courses to a much higher number "We have already seen this happen at Hamilton Heights" says Derek Arrowood, Superintendent at Hamilton Heights. “Three years ago, we started our own construction trades program with seven students. This fall we have 130 students enrolled in the same program. If we can offer these programs locally, we can dramatically increase the opportunities for our students locally."
“Economic development is the life blood of our communities and with the growth of the county and increased need for a skilled workforce to support our local companies, this cross-community model will allow our schools to partner with the business community and Ivy Tech to best support the needs of each community and the County as a whole,” adds Councilman Alexander. ”The vote tonight was a vote for our local businesses and a vote for the families and businesses that wish to come to Hamilton County.”
The proposed opening of the “career center” program offerings is school year 2023-24. After two years at full student capacity the Hamilton County center will be self-funded.