EATON — Preble County Educational Service Center has received a grant worth $267,682.50 to assist students looking to receive industry-recognized credentials.
ESC superintendent Shawn Hoff revealed this during the governing board’s Wednesday, Aug. 25 meeting, and said preparation for the grant, which was funded by the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program, will begin this year to be implemented for next year.
“It gives gives the students industry-recognized credentials which are applicable for their marketability in their career,” Hoff said. “But also it helps them with a potential graduation pathway.”
The credentials specifically focus on those “in-demand,” according to the program’s website.
“The manufacturing industry is a big one right now that’s being focused on, so those credentials that we chose to focus on, initially, are along the manufacturing route, which here in Preble County is one of our big avenues,” Hoff said.
Students are taught a published curriculum that goes alongside the credential they are working towards. Some curriculum also includes completing a project alongside a local business, such as helping to problem solve a manufacturing issue. Hoff said the program could be expanded to other career paths in the future.
The $267,682.50 granted to Preble ESC was part of $34 million in funding provided to the Innovative Workforce Incentive Program.
In other business
ESC Alternative School principal Brent Short and preschool supervisor Debby Barnett reported a successful start to the school year.
“We’re starting off the year good,” Short said. “It’s fun to see some of the kids, how they mature just through the summer…We’re off and running. The new teachers that we have are doing a good job. They’re really pushing the kids academically and their aides and their staff in the room to expect more of the kids, so it’s really, really nice.”
Short also said the ESC is hoping to have a functional “sensory room” by the midway point of the school year.
“I’ve actually taken a couple kids in there when they’re upset. I was like ‘Hey, want to see what’s it’s gonna look like?’ and and they came in and looked at it like, ‘Oh, cool,’” he said. “It’s a little different than the kind of a closet area that we had last year was carpeted, nice, but it was just so small. It felt cramped, there’s no windows.”
Barnett said preschool numbers are down due to no programs at East Elementary School or Twin Valley South this year, but the overall numbers are still strong in classrooms.
Additionally, the board approved a contract with the Preble Shawnee Local School District to provide Educational Management Information Services (EMIS) for the 2021-22 school year for the amount of $20,000.
The board’s next meeting will take place Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 5:30 p.m. at the Preble County Educational Service Center, 597 Hillcrest Drive, Eaton.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles