When opening an unprecedented model of education in a local area, there’s a lot to do. First, you need students to enroll. You need the money for donations to fund equipment, you need funds to support the teachers, and you need to work with other institutions to decide how credit transference will work (a major concern for many students who just aren’t quite sure what they want their career to be yet).
These are all issues that The Career Academy, a joint project between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Southeast Community College, is currently facing. The Career Academy is absolutely an unprecedented and ambitious new program for dual-credit and high-level courses for high school juniors and seniors; the academy will also work to offer internships, apprenticeships, and even certification in some fields. This entire effort is designed to advance the knowledge of skilled trades for high-schoolers, as we’ve discussed on the blog before, and work with future welders, machinists, and engineers to provide opportunities that don’t currently exist in Lincoln Public Schools.
The Career Academy is currently under construction on the SCC campus at 84th and O streets in Lincoln, and will be open to LPS juniors and seniors. Students from other high schools in the area are welcome to apply, but LPS students will get priority. Your thoughts may be similar to the thoughts of many who hear about this project– where is the money coming from? This type of building has to be pretty expensive, right?
As of now, LPS and SCC are splitting the $25 million needed to build the new center, according to the Journal-Star. LPS is funding their half with a bond issue, and SCC with a tax levy increase. However, they are currently calling out to local business partners for help with funding some of the major costs of equipment needed to really teach. For instance, the estimated cost for 20 welders needed for the program is $117,000, and engineering equipment will cost $155,000. Add that to ag-bio science, business, construction trades, early childhood education, information technology, K-12 education, and health sciences, and that is a pretty big bill to pay.
Academy director Dan Hohensee is confident, though that the program will be able to raise the money it needs. Hohensee, who started his position as director on July 1st, is excited about the opportunities that the academy will bring to those in the Lincoln area: “I kind of feel like the blue-collar lunchpail guy that has the opportunity to move up a little bit from the classroom to the office,” he said. “It’s getting called to the office for the right reason.”
How can you apply to be one of the pioneers for this exciting program? They will be accepting the first round of applications in late January (to make sure all scholarship dollars are in place so that everyone will have an opportunity. Dual credit courses cost $30/credit hour, but the fee is waived for students eligible for free and reduced lunch).
If you’re a high school student on the fence about manufacturing, take some time to learn about the program and see if it could be right for you. And if you’re a business owner, this is a fantastic opportunity to help support students and manufacturing in Nebraska! It’s an exciting venture all around, and we look forward to seeing how this progresses in months to come.
Questions? Comments? Leave them in the section below!
photo credit: The Career Academy homepage via wp.lps.org/tca