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Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education

Career TEchnical AND Adult Education News

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  • November 18, 2023 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    Deadline December 8, 2023

    Ohio ACTE is once again working with the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, Office of CTE to identify five outstanding career-technical senior (Class of 2024) students to be recognized as part of the US Department of Education  National Presidential Scholars Program. This is the ninth year that career technical students will be represented among the US Presidential Scholars. Out of all the applicants nationwide, 20 CTE students will be recognized.  Each state may submit up to five scholars.

    CLICK HERE to access the application and criteria

    The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students.

    Click HERE to learn more about the program

  • November 18, 2023 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    The revitalized Academics and Instruction Division is eager to hear from you! Your input is invaluable as we strive to enhance and shape the only statewide group dedicated to CTE academics and instruction. We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences by participating in our survey using the link below. Your feedback will play a crucial role in guiding our initiatives and ensuring that we meet the diverse needs of our community. Thank you for taking the time to contribute to the ongoing improvement of our academic endeavors.

    Survey Link

  • November 18, 2023 10:13 AM | Anonymous

    Ohio schools and associations issued support for the Career Technical Construction Program after awards were announced last week by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

    35 Ohio schools were awarded almost $200 million to help expand education and training facilities to serve more students. At the event, they also announced the launch of the new application period for the Career Technical Education Equipment Grant Program, which opened Friday and closes on December 15th. School districts can learn more and apply at

    What They're Saying

    "This announcement not only underscores our unwavering commitment to the future of Ohio's students but also highlights a transparent and meticulous selection process, ensuring that every dollar is geared towards genuine impact. We celebrate the grant awardees and trust in the thoroughness of the selection, confident that these investments will drive transformative results for our state and its bright, upcoming generation."
    -Dee Smith, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Career Technical Education

    “The Ohio Association of Comprehensive and Compact Career Tech Schools is grateful for Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted’s commitment to growing workforce development and career technical education across the state. The $200 million dollars allocated for our career technical education facilities in the state’s budget will support continued opportunity to educate the future of Ohio’s workforce.  We are additionally grateful for Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted choosing to announce the allocation of these dollars at an Ohio CCS member school.”
    -Anthony Battaglia, Board President of Ohio CCS

    "Ohio's career technical schools, superintendents and directors are extremely appreciative of the support Governor DeWine, Lt Governor Husted and members of the Ohio General Assembly have consistently provided to our community, including through their recently proposed expansion of career technical programs statewide.  The state operating budget’s $300M allocation toward new and updated career technical labs and equipment is significant and will produce meaningful growth in our sector. The historic investment recognizes the importance of career-tech in this pivotal economic time, and helps our leaders continue to leverage CTE programming as a bridge between education and the workforce. These funds will ensure that Ohio is not only equipping students with the tools to succeed, but also meeting our evolving workforce needs.  The new labs are an investment in the future of our economy; they will be incubators of innovation, where students can explore their passions, develop their talents, and gain the skills needed to pursue meaningful careers. The funds ensure that Ohio continues to produce a skilled workforce ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow. It’s a win-win situation that benefits students, industries, and society as a whole. We can’t thank our Governor, Lt. Governor, and legislative champions enough!"
    -Margaret Hess, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Career Technical Superintendents

    “Thanks largely to the leadership of Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, Ohio has become a national leader in modernizing manufacturing workforce development. The OMA was proud to work with the DeWine-Husted administration and Statehouse leaders to ensure adequate funding to enhance Ohio’s career-tech education and equipment. Ohio communities are counting on the continued success of manufacturers to grow local economies and career opportunities – and today’s announcement will help us do just that.” -Ryan Augsburger, President of the Ohio Manufacturers' Association

    “Workforce development continues to be the leading issue for Dayton area employers and we aren’t going to solve the problem without continued public-private investments. Workforce investments today will support jobs and our economy tomorrow.”
    -Chris Kershner, President & CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce

    "We appreciate the support from Governor DeWine and Lt Gov Husted to expand opportunities in career technical education at A-Tech for students in Ashtabula County. This funding will enable more students to gain meaningful experiences in our Public Safety Academy, helping them succeed as individuals, and build a stronger workforce for our local community and help Ohio's economy thrive."
    -Scott Wludyga, Superintendent of Ashtabula County Technical & Career Campus

    "On behalf of all of us at Canton Local Schools and The South Stark Career Academy, we are extremely grateful to Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted for the funding that has been provided to us for the expansion of our Career Technical Education (CTE) programming. This funding will enable us to add a Heating, Ventilation, and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) program to our CTE offerings, which is a significant step towards meeting the demands of our students and community. Currently, we have approximately 100 students each year on a waiting list, unable to gain access to our popular Trade and Industry programs. Adding the HVAC program will increase capacity and allow us to serve up to 50 additional students each year, an opportunity that would be impossible without this funding. We are thrilled to expand opportunities for our students to acquire valuable skills that will make them immediately employable at a living wage upon graduating from high school."
    -Brett Yeagley, Superintendent of Canton Local Schools

    “The ability to offer additional in-demand training in state of the art facilities to the students of Lake and Geauga Counties will positively impact our communities for years to come. A huge ‘Thank You!’ to the DeWine-Husted Administration for their workforce vision and leadership and to our legislators for supporting Career and Technical Education. We sincerely appreciate the trust you have in us to deliver on this important work for our region and for Ohio”
    -Brian Bontempo, Superintendent of Auburn Career Center

    "The grant funds will significantly benefit Butler Tech students by offering increased opportunities, resources, and support for success in high-demand healthcare pathways. This expansion project directly addresses the growing community need, as a steady increase in student applications necessitates increased capacity to provide quality career education for aspiring healthcare workers. Plus, through partnerships with local hospitals and higher education institutions, the expansion project will provide a high-quality space for students to earn in-demand credentials to become healthcare professionals."
    -Jon Graft, Superintendent of Butler Tech

    "The commitment to Workforce Development by Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted has cemented Ohio's status as a destination for employers. This Construction Grant will allow Career Centers, Comprehensives, and Compacts to increase their capabilities in preparing our youths for the careers needed to entice employers. At Buckeye Career Center, the addition of a Medical Facility will help us train more health care workers to meet the needs of our area. This Construction Grant will impact students across our state for generations to come. Thank you to Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted for your continued support of Career Technical Education in Ohio!"
    -Bob Alsept, Superintendent of Buckeye Career Center

    "We are thrilled to be a recipient of the expansion dollars. This will help provide career tech education in manufacturing and expand our engineering and robotics lab. Both fields are begging for more workforce and we will have opportunities for more students to be exposed and receive authentic learning experiences in these fields. We are looking forward to collaborating with the business and industries in our region to build the next generation of workforce!"
    -Andy Hatton, Superintendent of Findlay City Schools

    "Being a recipient of the Career Technical Construction Program Grant will allow Upper Valley Career Center to expand capacity in the in-demand pathways of Health Care, First Responders, Carpentry, Electrical, Building Maintenance and Robotics and Automation to help meet our ever increasing regional workforce needs. Upper Valley Career Center has reached capacity and has exhausted options for any additional on-campus programming in our current facility."
    -Jason Haak, Superintendent/CEO of Upper Valley Career Center

    "On behalf of Oregon City Schools and Clay High School, we are so blessed to be selected as one of the Career Technical Education grant award winners. This funding will provide a unique upgrade in facilities for our Agricultural and Environmental Technologies program by providing a new greenhouse and animal housing facility. Over the past several years, our Ag program has doubled in size serving over 100 students. By expanding facilities, we are able to prepare students for careers, in this often underserved industry, using new technology with appropriate space. This grant is a game changer for our program and will allow us to expand learning opportunities for students into the future. Thank you Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted for your leadership."
    -Hal Gregory, Superintendent of Oregon City Schools

    "The DeWine-Husted Administration's steadfast support for career tech expansion has directly paved the way for increased enrollment opportunities at the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center. This generous Career Technical Construction Grant opportunity not only strengthens our current support of local employers but also ensures that a greater number of students can access these invaluable programs. We can now offer a broader range of cutting-edge training programs, bridging the gap between students' aspirations and employers' needs, ultimately fostering a stronger, more prosperous community for all."
    -John Zehentbauer, Superintendent of Mahoning County Career & Technical Center

    "The Westshore Career-Technical District housed at Lakewood City Schools comprises Bay Village Schools, Lakewood City Schools, Rocky River City Schools, and Westlake City Schools. We are delighted to hear that we have received the grant funds for two new exciting programs. Advancing educational and career opportunities for our students is our mission. The Westshore Career-Technical District will be able to expand its offerings by adding Welding and MEMS. Each of these additions accelerates our student's abilities to gain employment in high-demand jobs when they graduate."
    -Maggie Niezwiecki, Superintendent of Lakewood City Schools

    "In recent years awareness about the opportunities provided to students through career-technical education has led to a dramatic increase in application numbers, enrollment, and program demand. Business partners are feeling the immediate impact of a career-technical education by way of our students and graduates and the skills they are able to provide.  Students and their families are experiencing the benefits of a career-technical education through their academic, professional, and personal pursuits. These funds will support Eastland-Fairfield in its mission to serve more students and families in the central Ohio region, as well as support our communities’ local economic needs through skilled workforce growth. Thank you for your investment in our career centers, our students, and thus, the current and future workforce of Central Ohio."
    -Shelley K. Groves, Superintendent/CEO of Eastland-Fairfield Career & Technical Schools 

    “As a school superintendent in a rural community, I have witnessed the unique challenges our students face when it comes to accessing quality educational opportunities and preparing for future careers. The Career Technical Construction Grant offers a promising solution to address these challenges. This grant will enable us to create state-of-the-art facilities that will provide our students with hands-on training in technical skills. By investing in our students' education and career development, we are not only preparing them for success in the workforce but also contributing to the economic growth of our community. The benefits of this grant extend beyond the classroom. We are helping to meet the growing demand for skilled labor in our region. This grant will enable us to make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of our students and the growth of our community. Together, we can create a brighter future for Coshocton County.”
    -Matt Colvin, Superintendent of Coshocton County Career Center

    "The Award-Winning Buckeye Hills Career Center is honored to have been considered to receive this grant. This opportunity will allow our district, located in Southeast Ohio and serves Gallia, Jackson, and Vinton counties, to expand our operations in the following in-demand career fields: electrical trades, broadband, telecommunications, power lineman, and heavy equipment. We will build a brand-new training complex to house these workforce pathways, which serve high school and adult students. We want to thank Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted for their vision, leadership, and support of our Career Technical Planning Districts, including our Ohio Technical Centers. In addition, we want to thank our legislators for their hard work through this biennium budget and their continual support of career technical education. In Ohio, career centers work hard, think big, and find a way. Because in CAREER TECH...It’s what we do." -Jamie Nash, Superintendent of Buckeye Hills Career Center

    “We are incredibly grateful for the facility funding support provided by Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and the Legislature to increase our positive impact on students, families, businesses, and the communities in our region. This funding will not only allow us to add substantial square footage to grow our already successful commercial carpentry programs, but also open much needed space to grow current in-demand programs like electrical, robotics and manufacturing, and the space to consider new programs like HVAC, Plumbing, and/or Industrial Maintenance across both high school and our Ohio Technical Center. The space will allow us to serve more high school and adult learners, while at the same time update labs to meet the ever changing industry training needs encouraged by our partner businesses. It is an exciting time to be in Career and Technical Education in the State of Ohio!”
    -Jonathan Davis, Superintendent of Pickaway-Ross JVSD

    “In 12 years as a Career Technical Education leader, I have never experienced the level of support that this administration has consistently shown. Both Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted have been vocal supporters of Career Technical Education, and they have actively advocated for the growth and expansion of CTE in Ohio. Both the Governor and the Lt. Governor have visited our Career Center on multiple occasions, and that level of commitment is definitely noticed throughout our community. We are blessed to have an administration that understands and supports Career Technical Education in Ohio.”
    -Kevin Kratzer, Superintendent of Southern Hills Career & Technical Center

    “We wish to express our profound gratitude to Governor Mike DeWine and the state legislature for their unwavering commitment to supporting CTE and Career Readiness. This funding will allow us to address the growing demand for skilled dental assistants in our region, expand our offerings to include a high school phlebotomy program, and renovate and expand our current welding lab, which will increase our enrollment capacity and provide the updated training to meet the ever-evolving demands of our local workforce.”
    -Kim Redmond, Superintendent of Portage Lakes Career Center

    "The funding from the Governor's Office will be groundbreaking for not only our students, but also our community. The Sandusky High School welding laboratory, which has not been updated since 1957, has only 8 functional welding stations with first-year classes of up to 20 students. The Governor's funding will allow us to renovate our laboratory with the same state-of-the-art equipment used by employers in our region's manufacturing industry which comprises 24% of the region's workforce. We will be able to train our students to fill the upcoming gaps in our workforce, as 25% percent of manufacturing employees in our region are 55 years of age or older. We are incredibly grateful and excited for this opportunity!"
    -Brandy Bennett, Career Technical Education Director & Assistant Principal at Sandusky High School

    "VSCTC has been providing quality education for decades, and we are very blessed with the support from our community and VSCTC continues to grow. However, as the program options have grown the demand has also increased. VSCTC, like many other Career Centers are facing significant challenges in meeting the student interest. VSCTC has reached and exceeded its maximum capacity in many programs and many students are either on a waiting list or in a another program that was not their first choice. The facility dollars allocated by Governor DeWine in this budget will allow us to expand and be able accommodate all students who apply to a program. These expansion dollars will give us the opportunity to move forward if we are fortunate enough to be one of the recipients. If the projects are funded VSCTC will be able to expand our resources, offer more programming for the students in our community to be highly trained and meet the workforce needs."
    -Greg Edinger, Superintendent of Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers

    "We are very happy that the State of Ohio is providing grant funds for career-technical schools, like Penta Career Center. The awarding of this funding is a win for the career-technical institutions that are seeing an increased enrollment, to the students that will have new opportunities, and to our region and state that will benefit from a highly trained workforce. At Penta, we are expanding our programs and student access to high-quality career-technical training, and these funds will greatly help us with the construction of a new E-mobility lab space to train technicians for future regional and state-wide, in-demand needs."
    -Edward Ewers, Superintendent of Penta Career Center

    “This grant is not just a financial boost, it’s a game changer for our school and community. This funding will enable us to expand our offerings and enhance our facilities, thus serving more students and bolstering our local workforce. We will now be able to offer year-round driver training courses during evening hours, better meeting the demand for CDL drivers in our community, and will expand our fire and safety training capabilities to help fill the shortage of firefighters in our region. Thank you for your ongoing support and for believing in the power of CTE to transform lives.”
    -Rick Tuner, Superintendent of Vantage Career Center

    "The Wayne County Schools Career Center Administration and Board of Education would like to thank Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted, and the Ohio legislators for their vision and continual support of career technical education, our students, communities, employers, and the state of Ohio. The funds provided through the budget will change lives and prepare students for great careers for up to 75 high school graduates each year. Their families, and future families, will also benefit from enabling our three programs with up-to-date technical preparation and thus enhancing our workforce! The labs and equipment will also enable afternoon and evening classes for adults in our community to help fill the needed positions we can’t possibly fill with high school graduates alone. Initiatives such as this ensure Ohio will be a shining star in the US economy for generations to come; the economic powerhouse of the Midwest with a workforce possessing the values, skills, and work ethic this nation was built on!"
    -Dr. Kip Crain, Superintendent of Wayne County Schools Career Center

    "Four County Career Center and the Northwest Ohio region extend our heartfelt gratitude for the generous CTE Funding that has been granted to our district. These funds will not only expand the horizons for students interested in welding and electrical fields but will also foster skill development and educational opportunities that promise to enrich and positively impact our communities."
    -Jeff Slattery, Superintendent of Four County Career Center

    “This has long been a dream for Career Tech. Students have responded in surveys for years that Welding is the program they would like to see added but the resources haven’t been available to make it happen. It’s exciting to finally give them this opportunity for a manufacturing career after high school, thanks to the Career Tech Construction Grant awarded to Hoover Career Tech and the Stark County Career Compact.”
    -Robert White, Associate Principal at Stark County Career Compact

    "The awarding of the Career Technical Construction Grant will fund additional laboratory space and modern equipment allowing Ohio’s Career Centers to accept an increased number of students. As stated by Rick Loconti, President of Tri County Electric, 'Northeast Ohio’s workforce and economy would benefit if capacity was increased to train more workers. Individuals, corporations, service organizations and governments would also benefit by having more available and reliable contractors to provide services at a lower cost.' This award will have a direct impact on creating stronger communities across Ohio." -David Mangas, Superintendent of Cuyahoga Valley Career Center

    "The ability to design, build, and open this new state of the art, 3.2 million dollar Culinary Arts program would not be possible without this funding from the state, spearheaded by the Governor’s office and supported by our dedicated legislators. We are most excited about the opportunity for 48 additional students from the Alliance, Marlington, and Salem school districts to develop their passions and attain technical skills and industry recognized credentials through this new workforce development program in the Culinary Arts. The graduates produced from this program will be able to supply our local communities with employees ready to directly enter the workforce at our local restaurants, wineries, colleges, hotels, country clubs, sports venues, and more!"
    -Beth Hirschman, Director of Career Programs at Alliance CSD CTPD

  • November 18, 2023 10:12 AM | Anonymous

    State budget funding meant to address capacity limits in career-technical education programs was awarded to 35 schools Friday, the DeWine administration announced.

    Under HB33 (Edwards), $200 million is available in FY24 for construction projects to support establishment or expansion of career-technical education programs, with priority given to programs aligned to a list of top jobs maintained by the Office of Workforce Transformation or that qualify for the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program. Friday’s announcement covers $199.8 million of the funding.

    Award amounts range from nearly $15 million for Four County Career Center in Northwest Ohio, for welding fabrication and electrical systems programs, to $1.6 million for Oregon City Schools for its agribusiness program.

    The full list of awards is at

    Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced the awards Friday at an event in Kettering.

    “Ohio is on the rise. We have 54 companies coming to or expanding their operations into Ohio, creating thousands of jobs,” said DeWine in a statement. “We need all hands on deck to support this economic growth, and that’s why it’s vital that we help our career centers expand.”

    “With this announcement, not only are we creating more opportunities for all Ohio students to earn a career technical education, but we are also giving them more opportunities to be career-ready when they graduate,” said Husted. “Having access to high-quality equipment that Ohio businesses use will help students swiftly transition from classroom to workplace.”

    "This significant investment means more than just state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge equipment. It's an affirmation to every student, parent, teacher, and employer in Ohio that we believe in the potential and promise of CTE. Ohio is not just investing in facilities and equipment; we are investing in dreams, aspirations, and the very future of our state," said Dee Smith, Ohio Association of Career Technical Education executive director.

    The governor’s office also announced that Friday marks the opening of applications for a related budget program that will provide $50 million per fiscal year for equipment purchases to support new or expanded career-tech programs. Applications close Friday, Dec. 15.

    Applications for the equipment program grants are at

    Story originally published in The Hannah Report on November 3, 2023.  Copyright 2023 Hannah News Service, Inc.

  • November 18, 2023 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    The Office of Career Technical Education at the Department of Education and Workforce is offering two Open Office Hour opportunities for schools to ask questions pertaining to the Ohio CTE Equipment Grant. 

    Monday, November 20th at 11:00am-12:00pm

    Microsoft Teams Meeting Link 

    Tuesday, November 28th at 1:00-2:00pm

    Microsoft Teams Meeting Link

  • November 18, 2023 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    There are more than 525 Purple Star Schools in Ohio – a statewide coalition for Military families & PreK-12 students, and the local educators whom support these frontline, hero families.  In 5 years, more than 40 States have joined in replicating Ohio’s model framework of Purple Star – a nationwide network now exists to exchange best practices and new ideas with local educators.

    The Purple Star Award recognizes schools that display a major and purposeful commitment to PreK-12 students & families connected to our nation’s Military here in the Buckeye state.  The Purple Star Schools Advisory Board, formed by the Ohio departments of Education, Higher Education, Veterans Services, and the Adjutant General (Ohio’s Army and Air National Guard) in 2016-2017, helps decide a school’s eligibility for the award.

    To apply, please click here.

    Applications for this upcoming Class of Purple Star Schools will be accepted from November 1 to December 15, 2023.  If you have questions about the application process, or your school’s status as an Purple Star School, please email

  • October 11, 2023 10:58 AM | Anonymous

    2 UVCC teachers receive national teaching awards - Miami Valley Today

    PIQUA — Two Upper Valley Career Center (UVCC) teachers were surprised Tuesday, morning, on Oct. 3, with a total of $150,000 in prizes recognizing excellence in skilled trades education.

    Andy Buehler, UVCC automotive teacher, is one of the five $100,000 grand prize winners of the 2023 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence. Konner Keller, UVCC manufacturing teacher, is one of 20 $50,000 prize winners.

    The Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence was started in 2017 by Eric Smidt, the founder of national tool retailer Harbor Freight Tools, to recognize outstanding instruction in the skilled trades in U.S. public high schools and the teachers who inspire students to learn skills to prepare for life after graduation, said a press release from Harbor Fright Tools.

    Buehler was the first teacher surprised Tuesday morning by his students, UVCC faculty members, members of the media and Harbor Freight Tools District Manager Benjamin Moore, and Harbor Freight Tools Program Manager Tae Kang with the $100,000 check in the high school’s auto tech lab.

    “This is pretty awesome,” said a shocked Buehler with big smile. “And this month is a busy month for us. We got the birth of our third child on the way, so it’s a lot going on. But, year, this is awesome. I usually have words, but right now, I’m … (at a loss for words).“

    His family, including his wife Amy and their two daughters were present for the surprise. Amy praised her husband as a role model and hard worker, as did colleges of his at the school.

    UVCC’s skilled trades program is receiving $70,000, and Buehler is receiving $30,000 for his great work as a teacher.

    According to information provided by Harbor Freight Tools, growing up, Buehler had a “fascination with all things mechanical,” which led him to tinker with go-karts, lawn mowers, and eventually his first car. He discovered his passion for teaching when he worked as a heavy truck technician for the Ohio Department of Transportation, where he mentored several interns, leading him to his current job at UVCC. Buehler has earned 23 Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications, which include master automotive, master medium/heavy truck, master automotive collision, advanced engine performance specialist, electronic diesel engine diagnosis specialist, and the G1 maintenance and light repair. In 2018, he received a “World Class Technician Award” from the Autocare Association and ASE. In 2021 and 2022, he participated in the US Autotech National Championship, placing in the top 16 semifinals and fourth in the nation, respectively.

    Buehler treats his classroom like a real-life shop where the students are the “employees,” said the press release. He emphasizes the importance of work ethic, professionalism, and punctuality, providing rewards when they have a productive week. Students use the hands-on skills they learn in the classroom to carry out repairs and inspections on customer vehicles.

    After Buehler, Keller was next taken by surprise when his classroom was ambushed by the same group and his students to announced he has won a $50,000 check.

    “This is just awesome,” said an emotional Keller, as he reached for words. “The trades are really important to me. This is really going to help the family out; help you guys (the students) out — and that’s what it’s all about. So, thank you guys for being good students and giving me the opportunity to teach you what I know and … this is important to me.”

    The school is receiving $35,000, and Keller is receiving $15,000.

    Keller teaches manufacturing and robotics at UVCC. Drawing on his prior career as a robotics programmer and systems integrator, Keller’s passion for solving complex challenges led him to pursue a career as a skilled trades teacher, said the release. Keller’s project-based class prioritizes learning applied problem solving in order to provide students with industry experience that will make them competitive in the job market. The culmination of his program is a capstone project which students must design, program, and build, then present at an open house for industry professionals, program advisory members, friends, family, and the community. These projects have included a robotic coffee barista, a Jenga block-stacking robot, and a robotic black-jack card dealer. Every experience in the classroom is an opportunity to learn, and Keller incorporates automation and programming across the classroom even for simple tasks like taking a restroom break. Keller’s students must master a number of electrical and manufacturing skills, such as electrical wiring, panel building and basic metal fabrication.

    Keller’s students have the opportunity to showcase their skills in robotics and automation, mechatronics, and additive manufacturing competitions through their SkillsUSA chapter. In 2022, two of his students won first place in the Ohio SkillsUSA Robotics and Automation Competition and placed third in the national competition.

    In total, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is awarding $1.5 million in prizes to 25 skilled trades teachers nationwide, said a Harbor Freight Tools press release.

    With this year’s prize, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools will have awarded more than $7 million to more than 130 U.S. public high school teachers and their schools’ programs — supporting tens of thousands of students along the way, said the release. The 2023 prize drew more applications than ever — more than 1,000, from all 50 states. Winners were selected by an independent panel of judges with expertise in career and technical education.

    Harbor Freight Tools for Schools is a program of The Smidt Foundation, established by Harbor Freight Tools owner and founder Eric Smidt, to advance excellent skilled trades education in U.S. public high schools. With a deep respect for the dignity of these fields and for the intelligence and creativity of people who work with their hands, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools aims to drive a greater understanding of and investment in skilled trades education, believing that access to quality skilled trades education gives high school students pathways to graduation, opportunity, good jobs and a workforce our country needs. Harbor Freight Tools is a major supporter of the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools program.

    For more information, visit:

  • October 03, 2023 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Anna Staver

    Columbus Dispatch

    Ohio School Board members Christina Collins, left, and Melissa Bedell

    Who controls creating Ohio's statewide curriculum, education standards and long-term planning for its 1.7 million public school children could be decided, at least temporarily, by a Franklin County Court judge Monday.

    The state was preparing to transfer those powers from the State Board of Education to the governor's office later this week, but a lawsuit filed by seven board members could postpone that overhaul of Ohio's public education system for years.

    Supporters of these changes say taking control over education away from the 19-member board would improve academic outcomes for children, make the department more nimble by centralizing power and end the ideological fighting over culture war issues that has bogged down board meetings.

    The plaintiffs say Ohioans voted to remove the governor from education policy when they created the board in 1953, and lawmakers can't override that. Parents would also lose their right to directly elect the people who write education policy.

    Monday's hearing won't determine who is right. Instead, Judge Jennifer Hunt will hear arguments for and against putting the law on hold while the case moves through the courts. A process that could take years.

    Here's what both sides say is at stake:

    Board vs. governor

    For decades, Ohioans have elected 11 members to the state board, and the governor has appointed the other eight. Together, they have picked a state superintendent who led the Ohio Department of Education.

    The board and its superintendent created our state strategic plan (currently called Each Child, Our Future), recommended textbooks and set curriculum standards. Basically, they've had a significant role in the direction of public education.

    But all that was set to change in October.

    State lawmakers created a new Department of Education and Workforce with a new organizational chart that put a director appointed by the governor at the top. The state board was left with a handful of powers, like revoking teacher licenses and territory transfers.

    "The bottom line is we have thousands of kids who are behind and not being remediated. They are not getting caught up,"  Sen. Andrew Brenner, R-Delaware, said.

    He believes consolidating power down to one person at the top will help. That's why he pushed for these changes. And he thinks the legislature had the right to do so.

    More:Ohio Senate trying again for education overhaul giving more power to governor

    "This isn’t just something that just happened out of nowhere," Brenner said. "The current state school board is going on two-plus years and still hasn’t put in a state superintendent. That is their one constitutional function. They have proven they can’t even do the one task they are supposed to do. Returning it to them isn’t going to improve anything."

    Democrats, and even board members, have said certain things need improving, but the solution isn't taking responsibilities away.

    "To wholesale carve out most of the power from that group and hand it over to the governor’s office feels heavy-handed," Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, said when the bill was introduced in January.

    Can lawmakers change the rules?

    Article IV, Section 4 of Ohio's constitution states there "shall be a state board of education" and a superintendent of public instruction.

    When it comes to the board's responsibilities, the section states that "the respective powers and duties of the board and of the superintendent shall be prescribed by law."

    And that's where the two sides in this lawsuit have different interpretations.

    Board members Christina Collins, Teresa Fedor, Katie Hofmann, Tom Jackson, Meryl Johnson, Antoinette Miranda and Michelle Newman have said "turning the board into an empty shell" violated Article IV.

    "The General Assembly is not permitted to abolish the constitutionally created Board via legislative workaround," according to their lawsuit. "And what the Ohio Constitution forbids the General Assembly from accomplishing directly, it also forbids the General Assembly from achieving indirectly."

    More:Ohio State Board of Education members sue to stop major overhaul of K-12 schools

    But the Republicans who wrote the law said they were well within their rights because "by law" means state lawmakers get to decide the board's duties.

    "Ultimately, this bill is going to pass," Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, said. "Gov. (Mike) DeWine supports it. Most of the legislature supports it. And it’s just delaying how this process is going to work."

    He told reporters the law will survive this court challenge, adding that board members "don't have a right for things not to change because they don’t like the way it’s changed."

    Did education overhaul belong in the budget?

    Board members made another argument besides constitutionality.

    They successfully convinced Franklin County Judge Karen Held Phipps that adding this overhaul into the state's budget may have violated something called the single-subject rule. That's why she issued a temporary restraining order in September that blocked the law for 14 days.

    The basic idea of single subject is that laws should be about one topic. For example, a law about K-12 education shouldn't include changes to nursing home regulations.

    The changes to ODE started out as a standalone bill, Senate Bill 1. Republicans passed it through the Senate in March, but the House has yet to take a vote. Instead, all 2,000 pages were added to the state budget in June.

    Huffman told reporters that SB 1 can still become law, and he would likely push for lawmakers do so if Judge Hunt blocks the law on a single-subject challenge.

    "And we will file another lawsuit," Fedor said. "It needs to be challenged constitutionally."

    Ultimately, this case or another one like it will likely be decided by Ohio's Supreme Court.

    "As we say in Allen County and parts west, there’s the judge, and then there’s the three judges you can go talk to if you don’t like what this judge did," Huffman said. "And if you don’t like what they did, there are seven more after that. So, that’s who is ultimately going to decide the issue."

    This story will be updated.

    Anna Staver is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

  • October 03, 2023 9:46 AM | Anonymous

    Gongwer 10-2-23

    Future Of State K-12 Agency Murky After Court Hearing 

    The DeWine Administration remains barred from implementing operating budget provisions that would create a new Department of Education & Workforce under a court order left in place by a magistrate on Monday.

    Gov. Mike DeWine responded by saying spending in the bill (HB 33 ) that eliminated the existing Department of Education and established the successor agency at midnight would go in effect despite the temporary restraining order issued by Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Karen Phipps last month. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, September 21, 2023)

    The governor said during an atypical evening press conference that, if read literally, the order as of Tuesday would result in no state K-12 agency existing to send state funding to Ohio's schools and districts.

    Nonetheless, he intends for the state to keep paying the agency's bills, including school funding and employee paychecks, he said, while waiting to name top officials at the new agency.

    "I cannot let this situation fester. I cannot let this chaos, which will start tomorrow, actually happen," DeWine said. "I believe I have an obligation to ensure that we provide a quality public education system that meets the needs of Ohio students so they can learn, study and prepare for fulfilling carers and future success."

    The governor said "by operation of law" the new Department of Education & Workforce will exist as of midnight and receive funding as approved by the General Assembly. He said, "based upon what our lawyers tell us" the new agency "can in fact function" despite the court's order remaining in effect.

    The governor said he intends to continue to follow specific provisions in the order barring his administration from taking an "active role" in the creation of the department, naming a director of the department or transferring powers from the State Board of Education to the overhauled agency.

    Magistrate Jennifer Hunt at a hearing on injunctive relief earlier in the day asked plaintiffs and defendants in the case to submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law by noon Wednesday.

    "I understand the importance of time with all the issues going on here, but I'm not a miracle worker," she said of the schedule.

    Hunt said the temporary restraining order previously granted by Phipps will remain in effect until she reaches a decision. That decision will then be reviewed by Phipps, who will ultimately decide whether to accept or reject it.

    Seven left-leaning board members initially filed suit against the state over the budget provisions Sept. 19, claiming the process of passing the language in question violated the Ohio Constitution's single-subject and three-reading rules. The plaintiffs also contended the provisions violate the section of the document that creates the board approved by voters in 1953. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, September 19, 2023)

    An amended complaint was filed Sunday, naming state board members Christina Collins and Michelle Newman – in their capacity as parents of school-age children – the Toledo City School District Board of Education and Stephanie Eichenberg, a former member of that board and parent, as successor plaintiffs.

    Hunt specifically asked for filings from defendants and plaintiffs to consider the issue of standing.

    "My question, which is tickling in my mind, is standing," she said. "Do these individuals even have standing to come in here and challenge this?"

    Julie Pfeiffer, constitutional offices section chief for Attorney General Dave Yost, initially moved to vacate Monday's hearing, arguing the filing of an amended complaint rendered the plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction moot.

    Amanda Martinsek, attorney for the plaintiffs, said the amended complaint featured "no substantive changes" in arguing for the hearing to go forward.

    Pfeiffer agreed to proceed in what became a day-long hearing after saying the state faced a "Hobson's choice" due to the fact that the budget provisions in question were set to go into effect at midnight.

    Martinsek said in opening arguments that without court intervention, the state board will become "a powerless shell" in violation of the constitution. She argued that continuing to pause implementation of the budget provisions in question will not harm the state.

    "The planning that the executive branch has done in the past 70 days does not go for nought," she said. "Should this court, for some reason, decide that this is constitutional … that planning will still be there."

    Pfeiffer, meanwhile, said the granting of preliminary injunctive relief would lead to "immense harm to the public."

    "We are at the very end of this long, laborious, hard road," she said. "It has taken great resources and efforts to get all of the pieces into place over the last 90 days."

    Gov. DeWine's concerns about the effect of the temporary restraining order remaining in effect were echoed in testimony by ODE Chief of Staff Jessica Voltolini, who was called as a defense witness.

    When asked by Pfeiffer if she knew what would happen to ODE employees who were slated to become DEW employees at midnight, Voltolini said "not with certainty." She said the restraining order had complicated the transition process and questions about what parts of the budget would and would not take effect Tuesday.

    Martinsek questioned whether injunctive relief "keeping the status quo in place" would address such concerns.

    Voltolini called the environment under the restraining "confusing" because it only refers to four statutes, potentially allowing other portions of the budget affecting the existing and new departments to go into effect.

    Eichenberg testified about her interactions with the state board as a parent and local school board member. She said she opposes the "far more limited role" the panel would take on if HB33's provisions take effect.

    "They become just a human resources wing and that's it," she said.

    Sheena Barnes, Toledo school board president, also decried what she deemed a "very much watered-down" role for the state panel under the legislation. She said board members are now able to take in and respond to public comment on statewide educational issues.

    "I don't know what I will do as a board member or even a parent to get my voice heard," she said.

    Collins, who also was called to testify on behalf of her fellow plaintiffs, responded to multiple questions on cross examination, about the timing of the suit, which was filed on the day of the last state board meeting before the legislation was set to become effective. She said her efforts started after the governor declined to veto the language in question.

    "I had no idea what to do to sue the state, but by the end of that week in July I was working on it," she said.

  • September 29, 2023 10:42 AM | Anonymous

    The Ohio Redistricting Commission late Tuesday unanimously passed new House and Senate maps that will lock in a Republican majority until the end of the decade. 

    The two Democrats on the commission – Senate Minority Leader Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and House Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said that while they were voting for the plan and that it was better than what was originally adopted as the working document last week (see The Hannah Report, 9/20/23), the process was still broken and should be taken out of the hands of politicians. 

    According to co-chair Auditor Keith Faber, the new map would see 20 Republican, three lean Republican, nine Democratic, and one lean Democratic seats in the Senate. There would be 58 Republican, three lean Republican, 30 Democratic seats, and eight lean Democratic seats in the House.

    After hearing testimony Tuesday morning, members of the commission worked behind closed doors into the evening before finally returning just after 10 p.m. to announce a deal had been struck. Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) introduced the new plan, dubbed the “Unified Bipartisan Redistricting Plan,” going over the changes. Most occurred in Ohio’s larger counties, making some districts more competitive. 

    Among the changes are the following: 

    - The 27th and 28th House Districts in Hamilton County exchanged “geography” that resulted in minor index changes. 

    - While the 11th Senate District remained the same in Lucas County, containing the city of Toledo, the 41st, 42nd, and 43rd House Districts exchanged geography to keep certain communities together. The so-called “sliver on the river,” which keeps the 44th House District contiguous through a portion of the Maumee River, remained. 

    - Changes to the 27th Senate and 32nd House District saw changes that included adding New Franklin and moving Barberton to another district. Districts in Summit, Geauga, and Portage counties were made more competitive. 

    - In Franklin County, the 10th District became more Democratic leaning, and pairings of some Senate districts were changed. The 16th Senate District became more Democratic, and the 25th Senate District is now considered a safe Democratic seat.

    - House districts in Lorain County swapped geography to change indexes. 

    - Geography was exchanged for the 60th and 61st House Districts in Delaware County, so that the 60th District now contains more of the southern portion of the county. 

    - Several changes were made to Cuyahoga County to make the 24th Senate District more Democratic leaning and the 18th Senate District more competitive. House districts were adjusted to keep communities together, and the 17th House District became more Republican. 

    Russo complained that it was not “ideal” that the changes were introduced Tuesday evening and adopted without giving the public the chance to comment on it, calling it an “unfortunate part of this process.”

    Antonio said the process “does not belong in our hands,” and said it should be done by Ohio citizens. She said that the commission experienced some infighting, they were on a rushed timeline and started late. 

    She said the agreement provides a pathway for more Democrats to be elected to the Senate. 

    “We collectively produced better and fairer maps for the people of Ohio,” Antonio said. “Hopefully in the future the people of Ohio will help us do a better job” and take the process out of legislators’ hands. 

    Russo said the process was not what the people of Ohio wanted. She said those who feel the process is a sham or that it is rigged as long as it remains in the hands of politicians are correct. 

    “My vote is to take this out of the hands of this commission,” she said, adding it will now be up to voters on how they want the process to work in the future. 

    Faber said that he believes the process worked better than last year as all members of the commission wanted to work together. He said it isn’t a perfect map and no member likes everything about it, but in the end, it meets the constitutional tests and allows people to be represented by those who share their views and values while keeping communities together when possible. 

    The commission also voted to schedule an if-needed commission hearing for Friday at 1 p.m. in the Senate Finance Hearing Room, which Faber said would be used to make any technical corrections that may arise. McColley said he doesn’t anticipate the meeting will be necessary but they want to make sure the commission will be ready if anything comes up. 

    After the meeting adjourned, Faber told reporters that the intent is for the map to last eight years, but it will ultimately be up to the courts to decide. 

    “I think with a bipartisan vote there’s an argument that it would be for the remainder of the decade,” he said. 

    He said he commended the commission for showing future commissions a bipartisan way on how to get it done. 

    Looming over the process is a potential constitutional amendment that would go before voters to create a 15-member citizens redistricting commission that former Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor has been working on. 

    Russo and Antonio both said they believe it should be out of the hands of politicians. Faber, however, said he thinks it’s impossible to take politics out of the political process of redistricting. 

    “I think that the proposed constitutional amendment, as I've seen, would do more harm than good. And I think this product, this process can work if the parties are intent on making it work. I would argue that the prior process, the parties were more interested in litigation than they were in mediation. And in the end, I think it showed in the results,” he said. 

    Faber added that he would welcome the Ohio Supreme Court’s taking a look at this map and the process. 

    Russo said she doesn’t think the bipartisan vote on the map will deter those pushing the constitutional amendment. 

    “Yes, we got all of our votes here, but this is not the way this process was supposed to work,” she said. 

    The Equal and Fair Districts coalitions issued statements condemning the plans. 

    “Politicians are getting in our way,” said Molly Shack and Prentiss Haney, co-executive directors of the Ohio Organizing Collaborative speaking on behalf of Equal Districts. “It has become obvious that we cannot trust politicians to deliver the fair maps Ohioans deserve. We must remove politicians from the process and give power back to the people. We look forward to making that change by amending the Ohio Constitution in November 2024.” 

    “This corrupt, undemocratic process has resulted in rigged maps that help politicians and their friends get re-elected at the expense of Ohio families and communities,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, speaking on behalf of Fair Districts. “We are working together on an amendment to ban politicians from map drawing so that Ohio voters get the impartial districts they fundamentally deserve, and lawmakers will be responsive to the people rather than mega-donors and lobbyists.”

    During the morning testimony, about 10 witnesses addressed the commission, many continuing to complain about the process. Testimony included a current legislator, Sen. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo), and two former legislators – Kathleen Clyde and Jeff Jacobson. 

    Hicks-Hudson said she hosted, along with other legislators from Lucas County, a town hall in Toledo on Monday to solicit feedback from citizens because the area was not given the opportunity to host a commission meeting. She said many of those who spoke had questions about the process as well as certain splits made in the proposed maps. She said there were also concerns about someone representing them who may not live in the county. 

    McColley asked Hicks-Hudson about the importance of including all of Toledo in one Senate district. Hicks-Hudson said the way it is drawn is better than the current district because Toledo is in one district, but she said the county as a whole could do better especially when it comes to having a representative who lives in Lucas County for the other Senate district.

    Clyde, a co-chair of the Ohio Citizens Redistricting Commission, an independent group that submitted its own redistricting plans throughout the process, said the current working plan clearly violates the Ohio Constitution with regard to proportionality. She called it a “slap in the face” for Ohioans who voted for reforms to the redistricting process. 

    She said the map puts most of the competitiveness pressure on Democrats around the state. 

    Asked by Antonio the differences between the maps submitted by her group and the working map of the commission, Clyde said the biggest difference is the partisan fairness that she said is required by the Constitution. She pegged the partisan breakdown of the state at 56-43 Republican in the House and 19-14 Republican in the Senate. 

    Jacobson spoke out against proportionality arguments, saying it was only meant to be aspirational when the constitutional amendment was drafted, and that a proportionality goal cannot be met without gerrymandering. He said the problem is that a majority Democratic seat can’t be drawn in the rural areas of the state. 

    He told Faber that the previous Ohio Supreme Court decisions “effectively and unfortunately elevated proportionality” to match the other requirements. He claimed it was invented to stop the drawing of communities of interests, adding that people deserve representation, not politicians or political parties. 

    Russo argued that there are unbiased metrics to define what is a gerrymandered map, and that most of the maps that have been submitted are “far better than any of the maps voted on by this commission.”

    Jacobson responded that the issues have been conflated, and the fact is that the only way to draw 44 Democratic seats in an area that only has 37 seats worth of Democrats is to stretch them out and gerrymander. 

    Antonio commented that the process has made it clear that people who have any kind of “extra stakes in the game” such as lawmakers should not be drawing the maps. Jacobson called it a “fool’s errand” to have unqualified and nonexperts in the process to draw redistricting maps. He argued that other states that have adopted independent commissions have seen “gerrymanders get worse,” and pointed to a ProPublica article he said showed Democrats manipulated the process in California. 

    Tuesday morning, Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) spoke briefly with reporters about the redistricting process.

    Following the House Rules and Reference Committee, Stephens said the proposed maps (see The Hannah Report, 9/20/23) are “pretty straightforward” “geographically speaking, percentage wise.” 

    “What’s interesting about Ohio's maps are … the way the House districts … are encapsulated within Senate districts, so it's really interesting how that dynamic plays out, so sometimes it makes it much more complicated from a mathematical standpoint,” he said. 

    Asked about the maps favoring Republican lawmakers, Stephens called it a “function of political geography.” He noted, however, that the political makeup of districts can change quickly and said the changes are not “static.” 

    “Fairness is one of those words that means something different to everybody, I think. So, that's the real challenge of it, and I think, you know, trying to draw the maps in a way that is respectful of the current members of the House …,” he added. 

    The maps along with district stats and assignments for the newly approved House and Senate districts can be found on the Hannah Newshomepage at>Breaking News.

    Story originally published in The Hannah Report on September 26, 2023.  Copyright 2023 Hannah News Service, Inc.

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