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Governor pledges financial, moral support for career-tech

Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday told career-technical educators he would look to find ways to direct more state funding toward their facilities and equipment while working to bolster the field’s image in the state.

The governor said part of his role will be highlighting the good work being done within the state’s career centers and joint vocational schools.

“As we look to the future, and as we work with the legislature, this is a governor who’s going to be very mindful of how important the career centers are,” he said to applause during a speech at the Career-Technical and Adult Education Legislative Seminar in Columbus.

Gov. DeWine said he knows many of the state’s career centers face challenges because they were established in the 1960s and 1970s and have since become somewhat outdated.

“Some are operating maybe not with all of the equipment that they should have,” he said. “We’ve got to figure that out. We’ve got to figure out how the career centers can access the state money more in regard to building, maybe access it more in regard to having the real equipment that you need.”

While the governor did not lay out any policies he intends to support, he said he looks forward to having discussions with leaders in the career-tech field to find out how he can best help them.

“I don’t come here with a specific proposal, but I’m telling you…we want to work with you,” he said.

Gov. DeWine said he has been impressed in his trips to career centers across the state. He said he encourages members of community groups he speaks with to visit their local career centers to see how much they have improved over time.

“They’re doing some just amazing, exciting things,” he said. “I think part of the job of the governor, frankly, is to talk about that and to maybe change the culture a little bit so that parents understand what really goes on in career centers today.”

The governor said he also hopes to correct the false premise that career center students are not cut out for higher education. He said such students often see career-technical education as a step before college or other educational opportunities.

“That’s another thing we’ve got to change people’s perception about,” he said.

This article was originally published in the Gongwer Report.