#CTEChallenge shows locally there are many paths to students’ success

By John Hamilton - jhamilton@wnewsj.com

WILMINGTON — College is not the only path to a good career.

That’s what Laurel Oaks teachers are trying to promote with the #CTEChallenge.

Laurel Oaks intervention specialist Dustin Eads and Dean of Instruction Kevin Abt are among the educators hoping the online campaign will promote a positive perception.

The campaign was started by multiple individuals including Dustin Goldie, a veteran teacher of the Kings Local School District and a Clinton County resident.

The point of it is to change the mindsets of career tech education, to show students the other options they have out there, and how it can help set them up for a career, said Eads.

The campaign has even gotten the attention of Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

“There’s a large skills gap in the United States,” said Abt. “Many of the positions that can’t be filled right now are skilled trade areas.”

Abt said that, for a long time, the mindset for education has been that if you want to be successful, you have to go to college.

“We’ve preached that for so long it’s almost ingrained in people to the point we’re lost sight of the fact that you can make a really good living … without a degree, if you have a skilled trade,” said Abt.

There are multiple different pathways, according to Abt.

“It’s really individualized for students,” he said. “The social media part of (the challenge) is trying to make people aware of that.”

Abt said Goldie challenged the other schools to post about what they’re doing to make students realize there’s more than one way to succeed.

Eads originally taught at Clinton-Massie for 15 years, then had an opportunity to work at Laurel Oaks.

“I feel like I help students excel with a career; give them options when they graduate high school,” said Eads.

“There are so many other skills that they can learn at this center … that when they walk out these doors, they’ll be able to earn a living. Then they can put themselves through college,” he said.

On Twitter, several schools and individuals have taken part in the challenge. Goldie has made several posts on his account — @KingsEmployability1; @woodshop_paul of the NISD Construction Careers Academy in Texas posted, “rafter calculations and cutting for sophomores”; @ncseatech in North Carolina showed photos of their students honing their baking and pastry skills with biscuit making.

For Laurel Oaks, Eads has posted photos of their auto mechanics students working on different vehicles, and construction pics. Abt has taken photos of the welding students and has done a video of their diesel mechanics class.

The latter class is currently putting a bio-diesel engine in a Jeep. He hopes to have a photo or video showcasing something from all their programs.

Outside of removing stigmas against career tech education, the two really want students to see there are other options outside of just going straight from high school to college.

“I think so often we forget that we’re all individuals, we all like to do different things, and you really should have the opportunity to do what you’re passionate about,” said Abt. “There’s a lot of options out there.”

If anyone is interested in taking a skill or tech class at Laurel Oaks, they can visit greatoaks.com or call 513-771-8840 for more info.


By John Hamilton


Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574