While the Southern Ohio Veterans Memorial Highway is currently being carved into the hillside, building a faster route around Portsmouth, another entity is building just off it, ensuring jobs and training to many within the southeastern Ohio communities.
The entity building is the Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) and Superintendent Stan Jennings has been hosting community leaders— Daily Times representatives, Scioto County Commissioners, members of the Southern Ohio Port Authority, and more— to view the final stages of phase one in completing the satellite location of the SCCTC.
The satellite location will be home to new programs and industrial maintenance jobs.
The first addition to the location is a commercial driver’s license program with partnering organization Southern State Community College Truck Driving Academy, who will begin training students come January.
Jennings looks forward to this partnership and believes it will also be beneficial for students.
“We have a large parking area for them to practice on, as well as practice docks on another end of the building.”
Jennings is also looking at moving a few of his current programs to the new site to give them more space to work and to provide other programs on campus with additional space to grow.
One of the programs that is slated for growth is the school’s quickly growing culinary arts program. Jennings is looking forward to adding a post-secondary option for the classes and is even looking forward to possibly opening a restaurant on campus for the class to operate and manage.
Another addition Scioto County Career and Technical Center is hoping to make is an ROTC program.
The school has already founded a club and currently has 10,000 square feet reserved for the program in the new location.
Another key aspect of the location will be to allow them to really delve into advanced manufacturing, according to Jennings.
One of the key components of the move will be the industrial maintenance program and advanced manufacturing, which Jennings believes to be one of the fastest growing fields. The program will finally have an abundance of space to house the same mechanics used in RAMTEC (Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education) facilities and will fill the gap of the type of educational offerings in the southeastern part of Ohio.
“We have places like this all over parts of the state, but nothing in southeastern Ohio and we have the potential,” Jennings said. “We just want someone to give us the chance.”
Phase two will also include acquiring partnerships with businesses to fill the large industrial space just north of the school’s educational building.
Jennings is open to negotiating the fine print of agreements with interested parties. He explained that he is open to accepting rent or quid pro quo by work done to the building. He also said that the school will be more likely to work with businesses interested in bringing a large amount of jobs to the area.
“We don’t really know what we want in there, exactly,” Jennings admitted. “We are open to almost anything. If we get a business that brings in 50 jobs, we will work with them on getting them in there. What we’d like to have is someone who hits the sweet spot. If there is a business that doesn’t have that many jobs, then maybe they can have a training program that we could work with.”
The school isn’t worried about struggling to find partners, since they have growing advanced programs and a prime location right off the soon-to-be highway.
“We are in the perfect location,” Jennings explained. “We are on the cusp of being able to turn left and go to Myrtle Beach, but also so much more than that. We have easily accessible routes to most locations right next to us.”
Having the businesses working next to the instructional facility will also play a part in them being able to hand-pick students they are interested in hiring, since they will be right next door. SCCTC will also be able to cater educations around the needs of these businesses.
“Chances are, we are able to give an employer exactly what they want, if they just ask,” Jennings said. “If there is an industry willing to work with us, and explain what they need their students to do, we can make it happen.”
Jennings is looking forward to wrapping up phase one very soon and will have students in the building when the new semester rolls around come January. He explained that he has a lot of technology ready to go. While he would like to see additional dollars from the state level, he said that he is going with or without additional funding.
“We are returning to the future with some of this stuff,” Jennings explained. “Whenever you look at the area, we used to be heavy in the marketplace of machinery and stuff like that, before it went away. Well, now the marketplace is coming back, because people are starting to realize it isn’t exactly cheaper to move and they are losing money overseas. The problem we are now facing is that jobs are returning, but we have a skills gap. When there is a company looking for talent, I’d like for them to hear about us and later think ‘Oh, yeah, Stan has the students who are excellent with that.’ Also, we now have the space available for these businesses to work with our students.”
For more information on programs offered at the Scioto County Career and Technical Center, visit www.sciototech.org or call 740-259-5522
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.