Online courses support students at districts and the county’s Career and Technical Center as they explore industries and prepare for professional certifications prior to high school graduation
(Business Wire) The demand for highly skilled workers to fill vacancies has encouraged school districts to provide students with both college and career readiness opportunities. Mahoning County Education Service Center (ESC), which serves more than 20 districts in Ohio, is helping them create robust career-readiness programs by using an online and blended learning program for Career and Technical Education (CTE) called Career Readiness Pathways™ from Fuel Education™ (FuelEd™).
“Students who want to enter the workforce after high school are more marketable if they have a professional credential,” said Dr. Ron Iarussi, Superintendent of Mahoning County Educational Service Center and Mahoning County Career and Technical Center (MCCTC). “FuelEd’s Career Readiness Pathways gives students a clear strategy to achieve this, and it helps districts increase their career readiness indicator on their state report card.”
The Mahoning County ESC is using funds from the Straight A Governing Board’s “Mahoning Valley Prepared for Success” grant to implement Career Readiness Pathways for high school students at seven of its member districts, as well as at MCCTC. Mahoning County ESC will also use some of the grant money to institute career exploration programs at the middle school level.
“We want students to learn skills that both help them prosper in life and support the local community,” said Gregg Levin, Fuel Education’s General Manager. “Through digital learning, Mahoning County ESC is providing students with new opportunities to prepare for professional certifications that can benefit the region.”
Career Readiness Pathways allows high schools to establish or expand their CTE offerings quickly, affordably, and thoroughly. The program offers both a comprehensive four-year pathway and an accelerated program so students can start a career pathway as late as 11th grade and still be prepared to take certification exams by graduation. Career Readiness Pathways has four Career Clusters® – business management and administration, health science, information technology, and manufacturing – and each contains three career pathways, thus allowing schools to offer up to 12 CTE pathways. Each pathway gives students the preparation and skills they need to earn industry-recognized certifications. Career Readiness Pathways also provides schools with other support services such as career exploration, business skill development and more.
The Valley STEM + ME2 Academy, which opened in the MCCTC for freshmen and sophomores this year, offers five different foreign languages and many other electives to its students using FuelEd Online Courses. The students in MCCTC’s 11th and 12th grade academies are using content from Career Readiness Pathways to prepare for their professional certifications. The MCCTC’s Machine Academy helps students explore manufacturing, welding, engineering, and more while also preparing them to eventually take professional certifications such as the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Certification.
Students in the Academy of the Arts, which contains courses such as visual design, imaging and more, are preparing to take professional certifications such as the Adobe® Certified Associate (ACA) Certification. Next year, the MCCTC plans on adding a health care occupations academy for which they will use Career Readiness Pathways’ Health Science pathway to prepare students to take a variety of health-related professional certifications.
“Our students love the variety of courses and flexibility we offer, which would be impossible without FuelEd,” said Iarussi. “Our students had this perception that online courses are easy or are a means to circumventing rigorous or tough classes. I think our students were surprised by the amount of reading, thought, and attention to detail the online courses require. This level of rigor proves that online courses are credible and that they will help our students prepare for the future.”
About Fuel Education
Fuel Education™ partners with school districts to fuel personalized learning and transform the education experience inside and outside the classroom. The company provides innovative solutions for pre-K through 12th grade that empower districts to implement successful online and blended learning programs. Its open, easy-to-use Personalized Learning Platform, PEAK™, enables teachers to customize courses using their own content, FuelEd courses and titles, third-party content, and open educational resources. Fuel Education has served more than 2,000 school districts, offering one of the industry’s largest catalogs of K–12 digital curriculum, certified instruction, professional development, and educational services. To learn more, visit getfueled.com and Twitter.
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