By Wayne Gates –
The Southern Hills Post-Secondary Campus in Mt. Orab is open for business.
Firefighter training Classes began in the new facility on Sept. 5.
Other adult classes will be offered as the facility ramps up, including medical assisting, nurses aid, law enforcement and paramedic training along with industrial technology.
“The next step is to bring our law academy up here. That kicks off in October. It will be an evening class. We are also looking to start our STNA nurses aid program in October,” said Post Secondary Director Vicki Carrington.
She added that the next growth step will happen in January with a medical assisting program.
“I’m also hoping to start a phlebotomy class, an EKG class and some of the other smaller medical assisting classes also,” Carrington said.
Southern Hills bought the building at Eastwood and 32 for $200,000 back in February and has spent approximately $800,000 in renovations and equipment since that time.
“This was a two year effort to get students onto this campus. It’s very rewarding,” said Carrington.
Not all of the adult classes will make the move north to Mt. Orab. Welding and other classes that involve heavy equipment will remain in at the Georgetown campus.
Superintendent Kevin Kratzer said adult students will be eligible to use federal student loans to pay for the classes at the new campus. He said that will eliminate one of the obstacles for adults who want to continue their education and learn new job skills.
Kratzer said that SHCTC also wanted to help adults with availability of classes.
“To do that, we knew we had to start offering classes to adults outside of nighttime hours. We have been using our facility in Georgetown after school hours for adults, but that limits opportunities when you can’t start until four o’clock,” said Kratzer.
“We think being here on 32 in Mt. Orab, we are positioned well to draw from eastern Clermont County, as well as Adams and Highland counties. We are hoping to be able to serve a four or five county region.”
As far as determining what programs to offer, Kratzer said that the school district turned to the business world for answers.
“Everything we’ve put in this building has been based on demand. We know there is a demand for medical assistants, we know there is a demand in the advanced manufacturing world and in public safety,” Kratzer said.
“Right now in the United States there are over half a billion, or 500 million, unfilled skilled labor jobs. Those are jobs that require more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree.”
Kratzer said that the district has the ability to help meet that demand.
“One of the best tools that we will have at this facility will be our advanced manufacturing training. We can teach the tools of today and give someone an opportunity to walk into a manufacturing facility and work in that environment.”
Kratzer expressed his gratitude for the hard work of Carrington and the other members of his staff over the past two years, saying that it would not have been possible to open the new campus without their efforts.
“We also have to thank our school board. We’ve gone out on a limb here and opened up a new branch of the school. The board has trusted that this is the right thing to do to serve our mission,” Kratzer said.
“Another person we have to thank is Mayor Bruce Lunsford of Mt. Orab. He has been so instrumental in getting us in this building and helping us get the firefighter and paramedic training off the ground.”
Carrington had high praise for Kratzer in return.
He has been awesome and forward thinking about all this. It’s great to have that support. We wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for him.”
Kratzer said that Southern Hills wants to hear from any adult who had questions about their career path and was ready to move forward.
“Reach out to us and find out what we can do to help you. If we don’t have the program that you might be interested in, I assure you that we have the connections in the area to help find it for you. We can’t offer everything, but we know where just about everything is and we’ll help you get there.”
For more information about Southern Hills Career and Technical Center or its programs, call (937) 378-6131.