Fitch Awarded Nearly $1M for Career Technical Programs

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio – Austintown Fitch High School will receive nearly $1 million to address the needs of four of its career technical programs.

The school was recently awarded a $950,746 Career Technical Education Equipment Grant through the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

William Young, director of Curriculum at Fitch, said school officials are “constantly evaluating the job demands and emerging occupations in those industries,” and they saw a need for welders, analysts, design managers and drone imagery photographers, among others.

“Our team embarked on how we could offer industry recognized credential courses and pre-apprenticeship programs to our students,” Young said. “We are thankful that the grant was funded so we can offer these expansions to our current programs so graduates from Fitch High School have the skills and certifications needed to enter the workforce, enter an apprenticeship, enroll in a trade school or enroll in a college degree program to further their learning. Our goal is always to provide endless future opportunities for our students.”

The funds will be used to address the needs of four of the school’s programs: Skilled Trades, Drone Education, Business and Marketing and Family and Consumer Science.

Fitch plans to expand its Skilled Trades program to include welding and millwright education. The school currently offers a carpentry pre-apprenticeship credential, but with the demand for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers, officials want to expand the program so more students have the option to earn a Certificate of Initial Mastery.

The school also plans to expand its Drone Education program to include Small Unmanned Safety Institute Certification, which is the Federal Aviation Administration commercial certification, and remote pilot certifications. Fitch already offers an introduction to drones, but officials want to expand the program to provide students with certifications that will give them more career opportunities.

The school’s Business and Marketing program will also expand to include Microsoft Excel Associate, Microsoft Excel Expert and RiseUp Customer Service and Sales industry recognized credentials. The expansion will also include a new student-led store where students can learn customer service and financial skills.

Fitch’s Skilled Trades program has been working to update a Family and Consumer Science classroom that will include cooking spaces. Officials wanted to bring back the program to offer students the opportunity to learn life skills as well as the opportunity to earn industry recognized credentials in ServSafe Food Handler, ServSafe Workplace and ServSafe Allergens.

The grant “will create numerous opportunities” for students, Principal Salvatore Maiorana said.

“The Career Technical Education Equipment Grant will enable us to expand existing programs and explore new options,” Maiorana said. “The administrative team at Austintown Fitch has diligently worked to ensure that students are well-prepared for life after high school. This grant will further support our efforts.”

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Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.