Sponsor Spotlights

ENERGY OPTIMIZERS, USA

Procurement Methods To Consider For Capital Improvement Projects

As school administrators are considering updating or improving their school facilities, there have been questions about ways to procure services and projects.  To ensure that our team at Energy Optimizers, USA is providing customers with accurate information, we have worked with Bricker & Eckler’s Legal Construction team to understand the various procurement methods that can be used by Ohio public schools for these projects.

One method of procurement is the LED Lighting and Energy Savings Program established by the Ohio Council of Educational Purchasing Consortia (OCEPC), which encompasses all six of Ohio’s purchasing co-operatives. In 2018, the OCEPC did a national RFQ/RFP for this program and received pricing from multiple firms. Energy Optimizers, USA is the sole vendor for that procurement program and has had the annual contract extended four times. 

You can be assured that your project will pass the “Auditor of State” test when you use this program for LED Lighting and other types of energy savings projects.  Feel free to talk to your co-op director about the program if you have questions or concerns.  None of our customers have had any findings brought against them by the Ohio Auditor of State during their annual audit when using this program. 

You may hear from vendors about using other co-ops for procuring these projects, but be cautious. Check first with your local co-op under the OCEPC umbrella before going with a different program. 

Some procurement methods whose Ohio authority is granted under ORC 9.48 cannot be used for construction services, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s opinion 2019-028.  This opinion states that construction services including roofing, HVAC replacement, and lighting replacements cannot be procured through purchasing co-ops whose authority is granted under ORC 9.48.  They may, however, be procured as part of an energy savings project through the OCEPC program, as the competitive bidding process has already been completed and meets the legal standards required. 

Another method that can be used for procurement is the Design-Build process, in which the district hires a criteria architect to write the project scope, to ensure that all bidders are working to the same scope.  The district then selects a contractor to implement the project, with the contractor obtaining competitive bids for various portions of the project. Energy Optimizers, USA has been awarded a contract for Design-Build projects through the Southwest Ohio Educational Purchasing Co-Op (SWOEPC), which can be used by any member district. Even better, the SWOEPC membership is free for any Ohio school district to join, and the EPC will cover the cost of the criteria architect

Energy Optimizers, USA, an OACTS Platinum Sponsor, has completed more than $150 million in facility improvement projects with all types of public facilities.  We have worked with 170 school districts and career-tech facilities and have saved our customers more than $91 million in energy costs.  

We welcome the opportunity to include career-tech students in working on our projects in your buildings, including teaching them to perform an energy audit, lighting installation, and other work that facilitates career readiness. We enjoy showing students what careers in the field of energy savings services (including HVAC, electrical, and construction) can look like.

We will provide all OACTS members with a FREE comprehensive energy audit to guide districts in establishing capital improvement projects and setting project priorities.  As one of the few ESCOs in Ohio named by the Federal Department of Energy to the Qualified List of Energy Services Companies (ESCOs), we are uniquely qualified to develop energy savings and facility improvement projects. Can we help you? Contact Belinda Kenley at 937-974-1549 or bkenley@energyoptusa.com.  


WRITTEN BY: Belinda Kenley, Vice President, Energy Optimizers, USA

Ennis Britton, Co., L.P.A.

GET READY FOR NEW Entry Level Driver training requirements in 2022

Across the nation, the requirements of the long-delayed Entry Level Driver Training (ELDT) will go into effect on February 7, 2022. After that date, no driver will be allowed to test with the BMV to obtain a CDL license unless they have a certificate on file from Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) noting successful completion of the ELDT curriculum offered by a registered training provider (RTP).

This requirement applies to any new driver wishing to obtain their Class A or B CDL for the first time, and to any veteran driver wishing to upgrade their CDL, or add an endorsement to their CDL, such as a passenger (P), school bus (S) or hazardous materials (H) for the first time. ELDT training is in addition to any state-level training requirements, such as the ODE requirement that school bus drivers complete pre-service training through an ODE preservice provider.

ODE requested an exemption from the nationwide ELDT requirements dated Thursday, November 18, 2021. Ohio noted that its request that the preservice training requirements meets or exceed the ELDT requirements. Comments were being accepted until December 21, 2021, and it is likely that the FMCSA will evaluate and determine whether to grant or deny the exemption in January 2021.

If the exemption is granted, then, as they say, we have no problem. Bus drivers would be trained through Ohio’s preservice program and meet the ELDT requirements at the same time. If the exemption is granted, but with conditions, ODE will have to conform its preservice training curriculum to include anything needed to meet the ELDT curriculum. This would still be a “no problem” situation.

However, if the exemption request is not granted, and the FMCSA makes that determination late in January, then the requirements are still going to go into effect on February 7, 2022. This could cause additional delays in getting new school bus drivers certified and on the road during a time when school districts are already experiencing a serious bus driver shortage as school districts try to ensure their driver candidates complete Ohio preservice training and then complete their ELDT requirements from an RTP.

What should your career-technical school district do to be ready in the event Ohio’s exemption request is not granted? Having a “plan B” will include accessing the list on FMCSA.gov to find RTP’s that your bus driver candidates may use to complete the required curriculum if needed. There are at least 185 registered training providers now, and more will become registered soon.

Any school may become a registered training provider on the FMCSA website, including a career-technical school, which already may offer driver training programs for CDL operation. Each entity that registers to become a training provider for ELDT certifies that it will offer the elements of the federal curriculum, ensure that driver trainers are qualified, and certify that its CDL driver candidates successfully completed the curriculum. Successful completion means an 80% or above on the written (theory) portion of the test, and demonstrated proficiency on discrete maneuvers to the satisfaction of the training instructor.

The federal rules and regulations do not specify a length of time the curriculum: instead, drivers must demonstrate proficiency at each portion, which the RTP must certify. (FMCSA does state that it would expect the OTR portion of the training to be around 15 hours for a Class B CDL.)

Speaking of the curriculum, the federal rules and regulations set out generally what the curriculum must contain, and is not an actual packaged curriculum. It is up to the RTP to develop a curriculum meeting federal requirements. RTP’s may choose to offer only the theory portion of the curriculum or the OTR portion of the training. The OTR portion includes both the range skills and also the public road training.

In Ohio, CDL bus driver candidates complete the written portion of their skills test to obtain a CDL learner’s permit. After February 7, 2022, the Ohio BMV will not schedule a license test until a bus driver candidate has completed all the EDLT training requirements.

Action steps, for now, include staying informed about developments, developing a plan B to get driver candidates certified if Ohio’s request for an exemption is not granted, and potentially exploring whether adding an ELDT driver training component to career-tech programs by becoming a registered training provider is something to consider.

WRITTEN BY Hollie Reedy, Ennis Britton, Co., L.P.A.

Buckeye educational systems

Industry 4.0 Automation – More than just pushing a “Green” button

Today in education we are all familiar with terms such as Mechatronics, Advanced Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and now “Automation”.  However, teaching students how to automate a system or process, especially in K-12, CTE, and even post-secondary at the associate level, is a very difficult task.

I learned this earlier in my career while working for a systems integrator.  Their job is to integrate different pieces of equipment to work together in an automated fashion.  Normally this requires very high levels of training, experience, and troubleshooting skills.  For example, to integrate or automate a Haas CNC machine with a Fanuc robot requires an engineer, controls programmer, robotic programmer, and CNC programmer to complete this task.  Many of these systems are in schools in Ohio, and while they do a good job of showing the working relationship between a robot and CNC, students rarely do more than hit the “green button” and watch it produce a finished part.  

What we are missing is the ability to teach students how to actually perform the integration of complex systems such as robots and CNC machines.  Until recently it took all of those high-level positions mentioned above to make a system work correctly.  We now can offer students the ability to learn this integration thanks to a company called Productive Robotics.  They are the only industrial robotics company currently in the U.S.A. and are based out of California. 

Productive Robotics manufacture COBOTS that are different because they offer students the ability to now integrate this robotic system to other pieces of advanced manufacturing equipment, the most common being CNC machines, as well as laser engravers, 3D printers, lathes and mills, and others.  Productive Robotics offers a communication/integration kit that has inputs and outputs, allowing different pieces of machinery to communicate back and forth to complete an assigned task.

A Cobot is a robotic arm that is also sometimes referred to as a “Digital Twin”.  Cobots are designed to do repetitive tasks that are typically being done by a human interface.  Since many companies are struggling to hire workers, Cobots are being used to work alongside humans in the manufacturing process.  In a recent conversation with a Columbus-based company that makes oral health products, we discovered that they currently have people perform all packaging and labeling tasks, they are working to add Cobots to their process.  By doing so the same work can be done by one person instead of two.  The cost of one of these robots is less than the cost of hiring one person.

Now we can show the process, programming, and “handshaking” that is required to get these systems fully functional.  This is the next step or level in training our students to not only learn the specific programming of each of these pieces of equipment, but now how to get them to communicate, and work together.

If you would like to learn more or have any questions, please feel free to reach out to either Jason Hoffman or Chad Wilford.

chad wilford, technical sales representative, buckeye educational systems 

Chad Wilford is a technical sales representative for Buckeye Educational Systems, where he services Ohio’s career-technical community. You can reach Chad at cwilford@buckeye-edu.com.

Bricker & Eckler

Title IX and Career Tech Schools—Consider Your Institution’s Live Hearing and Training Requirements

Unfortunately, the following scenario may sound familiar to you.  Jenny enrolls in the 8-week Adult Education STNA program at Happytown Career Technology Center after graduating from Pleasantville High School last year.  She is nervous but excited about the opportunity to obtain the certification.  Her nerves are amplified the first day of class when she arrives and she is the youngest person in the room.  The instructor, Bob, is a thirty-year-old instructor who was hired by the CTC to teach the course.  This is his first time teaching a course at the CTC, and given that he is relatively close in age to the students, he hopes he can develop a rapport with the students so he can teach other classes at the CTC in the future.

The other students notice that Bob has been giving Jenny rides home and is giving extra time and attention to Jenny.  Rumors start circulating that Bob and Jenny are involved in a romantic relationship.  Two CTC students who also graduated from Pleasantville mentioned their concerns to the CTC principal when they ran into him over the weekend at a football game.

Now what?

As a Career Tech Center, Happytown has several legal duties that are triggered under Title IX.   In addition to conducting initial intake and an investigation, under the new Title IX regulations, “post-secondary institutions” who receive federal funds must provide live cross-examination hearings before any determination and discipline can be issued against a respondent for sexual harassment allegations under Title IX.

The Live Hearing Requirement

The term “post-secondary institution” may, at first blush, seem to apply only to colleges and universities, but the federal Title IX definition of a post-secondary institution is broader:  “an institution of graduate higher education as defined in section 106.2(I), and institutions of undergraduate higher education as defined in 106.2(m), an institution of professional education as defined in section 106.2(n) or an institution of vocational education as defined in section 106.2(o).”  34 C.F.R. § 106.30(b) (emphasis added). Vocational education defined in 34 CFR § 106.2(o) “means a school or institution (except an institution of professional or graduate or undergraduate higher education) which has as its primary purpose preparation of students to pursue a technical, skilled or semi-skilled occupation or trade, or to pursue study in a technical field, whether or not the school or institution offers certificates, diplomas, or degrees and whether or not it offers fulltime study.”  (Emphasis added).

Thus, whether your vocational institution is subject to the live hearing requirement will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  For example, it is possible that the live hearing requirement exists in some cases, while not in others, depending on the structure of your institution, how your policy is drafted, and the facts of a particular case.  Therefore, we would encourage you to consult with your legal counsel to analyze this important issue.

Training Requirements

In addition, the new Title IX regulations require training of your Title IX team members.  Specifically, decision-makers must be trained on the following:

  •   Jurisdiction: understanding “the scope of the recipient’s education program or activity”
  •   Definitions of “sexual harassment” under the new Title IX regulations
  •   How to conduct a live cross-examining hearing
  •   How to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, bias and conflicts of interest
  •   Avoiding stereotypes
  •   Training on any technology to be used at a live hearing
  •   The grievance process for the decision-maker’s institution
  •   Relevancy determinations
  •   knowing and applying remaining requirements and other specific exclusions from the Regulations
  •   Rape shield law and its two narrow exceptions
  •   legally privileged information absent voluntary written waiver of party holding privilege
  •   How to objectively evaluate all relevant evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory and make decisions on relevancy
  •   That a decision-maker cannot draw inferences about failure to appear or answer questions in live cross-examination hearing
  •   How to determine weight, persuasiveness, and/or credibility in an objective evaluation

34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(1)(iii).

Also, note that if your institution is subject to the Clery Act,[1] your decision-maker must receive annual training on:

  •   Issues related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking; and
  •   How to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

34 C.F.R. § 668.46(k)(2)(ii).  Failing to complete annual training may result in fines.  If you are not sure whether your institution is subject to the Clery Act, reach out to your financial aid department because the Clery Act is tied to Title IV federal funding.  If your institution submits an annual security report, then it is subject to the Clery Act requirements.

For more helpful tips and social media updates from the Bricker Education Law Group, follow us on Twitter @BrickerEdLaw.  The Bricker Title IX Toolkit with flowcharts of the entire TIX process and customizable templates is available for purchase at https://k12tixtoolkit.bricker.com/.  

This legal update, prepared by the Education Law attorneys of Bricker & Eckler, is intended to provide general information and is not to be considered legal advice for any specific problem or issue. If specific legal advice is sought, please consult with an attorney.[2]

[1] Congress enacted the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (Title II of Public Law 101-542), which amended the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA). The act has been amended several times and the 1998 amendments renamed the law the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. It is generally referred to as the Clery Act and is in Section 485(f) of the Higher Education Act.

[2] At the time of writing this article, the U.S. Department of Education announced that while the current regulations remain in effect, there will be new guidance forthcoming, as well as a public hearing and that the U.S. Department of education anticipates publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to change the regulations.  Therefore, any guidance contained here is current as of the date of publishing, but is subject to change. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/correspondence/stakeholders/20210406-titleix-eo-14021.pdf

 

Kate Davis, Senior Attorney, Bricker & Eckler Attorneys At Law 

Kate Davis frequently partners with K-12 and higher education institutions on civil rights and Title IX issues. Kate has conducted independent investigations for public entities and assists clients with Title IX policy revision and training. She has trained dozens of educational institutions on the new Title IX regulations. Kate also served as an assistant general counsel at a large public university. In this role, she represented and provided direct legal advice to a variety of university departments, including the President, Provost, and the Office of Equal Opportunity. She provided guidance and training on public records and Open Meetings Act issues and student privacy issues, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). She also represented the university during investigations by the Office of Civil Rights, and participated in employment-related litigation.

Education:
The Ohio State University (J.D.), 2003, Order of the Coif; Staff member, Ohio State Law Journal
Miami University (B.A., magna cum laude, political science), 2000, Phi Beta Kappa

Buckeye Educational Systems

Next Generation of Industrial Technology

As many of us just wrapped up a holiday season filled with buying gifts online, working from home, and remote learning, advances in technology are more prevalent than ever in our lives. 

While these industries use technology to meet the changing needs of society, education and training must adjust in tandem to provide a stream of new skilled workers to fill skills gaps that emerge. 

What does this next generation of education look like, and what does it lead to? Industry leaders are looking for skilled workers with industry-recognized credentials, and educational institutions are stepping up to the plate to meet that need with robust Industrial Technology curriculums with early implementation.

As early as middle school, students are being exposed to in-demand skills that can help jump-start their careers. From STEM and Career Exploration to earning specific and job-ready industrial credentials, students in Ohio are uniquely positioned to excel and become tomorrow’s skilled workers.

Although skills gaps have emerged in Industry 4.0, Logistics, and HVAC, resources are available for both educational institutions and students to fill these in-demand job positions. Ohio schools can seamlessly integrate these sought-after subjects with aligned curriculum and hands-on training.

Industry 4.0

Students at Auburn Career Center collaborate while working on Amatrol Learning Systems.

Industry 4.0, or “Smart Factory,” is the interconnection of industrial technologies to produce big data analytics, which helps manufacturing facilities become more efficient than ever. Starting at a high school level, the Industry 4.0 Fundamentals program (I4F) from Amatrol ensures that students with no background in manufacturing can begin with the basics like industrial safety, hand tools, etc., and build to industrial competencies in areas such as PLC troubleshooting, mechatronics, and data analytics. Further, at the Post-Secondary level, the Amatrol Industry 4.0 Smart Factory is a robust eight-station training system that connects physical systems, operational information, and human assets to control a variety of actions, including manufacturing, maintenance, inventory, and supply chain operators. Best of all, Amatrol’s Industry 4.0 curriculum aligns with the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) credentials – a students’ ticket to a high-paying, in-demand job in Industry 4.0.

 

 

Logistics

Because of the explosion of eCommerce, supply chain operations have been forced to adapt rapidly, leading to new technologies and, in turn, a need for workers with updated skillsets. To meet this demand, a new industry-recognized credential was developed by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) – Certified Technician – Supply Chain Automation (CT-SCA). The credential consists of three certifications: Equipment Maintenance (CTSCA-EM), Equipment Repair (CTSCA-ER), and Network Repair (CTSCA-NR), and individuals that earn all three receive a full “Automation Master” recognition award. 

To prepare for the CT-SCA credential, educational institutions can use the Skill Boss Logistics from Amatrol to teach and assess 100 hands-on skills today’s technicians need in supply chain automation, including equipment maintenance and equipment repair. The hands-on skill assessment system is designed to meet MSSC standards and integrates seamlessly into any logistics program. 

HVAC

Like other industrial sectors, HVAC is amid a skills gap – thanks in part to an aging workforce combined with advancements in technology. Companies are facing increasing pressure to find qualified labor, as mechanic and installer jobs are expected to grow 15-percent nationwide by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. When it comes to training future HVAC professionals, getting hands-on skill training is ideal. With Amatrol’s HVAC Learning Systems, learners will have a chance to mimic the troubleshooting skills they’ll use on a daily basis – and do so on the equipment they will most likely encounter in the field.

 

 

How to Get Started – Buckeye Educational Systems 

While the next generation of industrial technologies can be daunting, resources are available for educational institutions across Ohio, as we have displayed. Buckeye Educational Systems, Ohio’s expert in all matters of education, is your partner to integrate new educational technologies and curriculum. To get started implementing Industry 4.0, Logistics, HVAC, and other emerging technology reach out on their website or by phone at (800) 522-0460.

Allerton Hill Consulting

Career Centers Uniquely Positioned for the Supercharged Online, Social Environment

For years, integrating social media as part of a career center’s comprehensive communication strategy was already showing importance. After all, we all know that social media usage has only climbed with each passing year. 

Then, the COVID-19 crisis hit. Overnight, we found ourselves working virtually and living socially through online environments. Social media usage skyrocketed and it became our single most important connection to each other, our schools and the world.

When this occurred, the gap between those career centers who were ready — and who understood the true purpose of social media as part of their comprehensive communication strategy — was obvious. 

It is all too easy to mistake social media as an online depository tor notices and informational postings. Or, said another way, as a digital bulletin board. Do not let that be your career center. It muddles your brand and it is an online crisis potentially of your own making when run that way. No worries, though, because in Ohio we have some excellent examples of how to run it well and correctly.

Among career center superstars are those who showed both their adeptness in using their social media correctly to boost their brand and who showed agility in using it in this supercharged online recruiting environment. 

Among the standouts is PENTA Career Center. PENTA overhauled their social media just prior to COVID hitting and they were rewarded with increased engagement with the right type of postings. The “storefront” of PENTA showcased their brand with a steady drumbeat of postings that match their brand. Meanwhile, they reinforced the promotion of critical announcements — such as the announcement of their learning models — by placing those on their website. Why? Because your website should do the heavy lifting for your communication. 

This also meant that PENTA was even more ready with recruiting occurring in this supercharged online environment. They increased the use of video testimonials on their social media and they were ready with virtual recruiting. They smartly used their website to do the heavy lifting and they overhauled their recruiting landing pages so that they were even easier to navigate and offered quick registration. 

Several others in Ohio did the same. Here are some of our favorite examples:

Branding should never be accidental. It should be comprehensive and deliberate. Plan now so that you are ready for whatever changes come your way.

 

 

Carole Dorn-Bell is a partner with Allerton Hill Communications (AHC). AHC specializes in public school and career center communication. Find AHC online at allerton-hillcomm.com and on Twitter @outreach_expert or connect with Carole at cdb@allertonhillcomm.com, via mobile at (614) 787-8771 and on Twitter at @cdornbell.

Energy Optimizers USA

Healthy Buildings… Healthy People… Healthy Communities

By Belinda Kenley, Vice President

Like many of you, we have spent the last few months learning how best to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe and healthy during this pandemic.

Here at Energy Optimizers, USA, this has involved listening closely to building and public health experts, examining old and new technologies, and speaking with school districts across the state about their anticipated needs and perceived challenges.

Building on our 10 years of experience serving schools, we have developed a new “Healthy Buildings” program, designed to provide quick and cost-effective solutions to schools in need as you gear up for the 2020/21 school year. In addition to the fundamental PPE items you are purchasing, we encourage you to look at engineering solutions, including building controls programming and hardware upgrades such as UV filtration systems.

Changes to building operations, including the operation of HVAC systems, can reduce airborne exposures of COVID-19. As a start, you can increase outdoor air ventilation by disabling demand-controlled ventilation and opening outdoor air dampers to 100% as indoor and outdoor conditions permit.

Specific measures to implement with your own facilities staff:

  • Enable outside air economizer mode
  • Increase minimum outside air
  • Disable demand control ventilation
  • Check airflow to large office areas, conference rooms and other spaces
  • Maintain proper pressurization of building pressure and toilet exhaust
  • Consider early startup and delayed shutdown (2 hours)

Contact Belinda Kenley at bkenley@energyoptusa.com for more guidance and information. We wish you all the best as you develop plans to get staff and students into either a remote or on-site schedule.

Energy Optimizers USA

Expansion and Development of Career Technical Occupations

By Trent Hayden, Energy Engineer

As we hear in the media frequently, there is a national abundance of job openings in the rapidly growing industrial field but a shortage of qualified individuals to fill them. This is where career technical education is essential to help bridge the skill gap and encourage younger generations to study these fields. In order to reach and benefit the intended audience, educators must be equipped to offer the proper training and education to enable students to work after graduation, be adaptable to an evolving industry and technology, and know that they are the solution to the cultural and environmental issues we face every day.
Year after year, Energy Optimizers, USA (EOU) pushes the envelope of energy savings possibilities for school districts as it expands its repertoire of energy conservation measures and expertise. EOU associates join forces with a wide variety of education-based professions, including superintendents, teachers, maintenance staff, college professors, engineers, and graduates of career tech schools. As EOU has grown, we have sought to bring on more skilled trade workers to aid in developing facility improvements and energy savings projects, yet finding prospective workers has proved a daunting task with the competition for qualified tech graduates.
We understand and appreciate the value of career tech schools and have a great success story to share. Nick Alspaugh joined EOU in 2019 to assist our Project Development team, to perform energy auditing and to manage service agreements with our customers. Nick was home schooled and took a unique path to graduation. In his junior and senior years of high school, he did not need to take any gen-ed courses so attended both Upper Valley Career Center and Edison State Community College. Most of the credits earned at Upper Valley transferred to Edison, so Nick graduated from Upper Valley and Edison State Community College at the same time, at age 18. Further, Nick began working the summer before his senior high school year at an HVAC company and during his co-op rotation. By the time he graduated from Upper Valley/Edison State, he already had 1-1/2 years of experience in his chosen field. When he received a scholarship from Upper Valley, he used it to pay for an associate degree in HVAC from Sinclair Community College. Nick, now at only age 21, has a very bright future with Energy Optimizers, USA and credits his educational experiences at Upper Valley and two community colleges for giving him a great start in his career.
As technology has progressed, the renewable energy industry has become a catalyst to the growth of skilled trade jobs, with the most rapid job growth coming from the solar and wind sectors. EOU is seeing this clean energy workforce demand skyrocket firsthand thanks to decreasing technology costs, increasing demand for clean energy and efficient technology, and supportive policy and investments. New occupations related to renewable technologies are not limited to densely packed cities and remote areas away from home. Robert Kellow, of Aerotek staffing company, says he sees the renewable energy industry bringing jobs to small towns, as solar installation workers average a wage of $26 per hour according to the Solar Foundation jobs census. To fill these roles, our career technical centers must evolve and train students so they can thrive in this budding industry.
A notable example of career technical education investment comes from the Dayton area not too far from our headquarters. Miami Valley Career Technology Center is in the midst of a $150 million project to expand its programs and student capacity. While the Center currently serves 1,850 high school students and 4,000 adult learners, (with an additional 3,500 students through satellite schools in grades 6-12), it still has had to reject more than 200-300 students per term due to a lack of available seating. This expansion will allow for a larger student body and broaden the range of trades. Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted is quoted saying, “This is the future of how America’s education system is going to work, integrating employers and jobs skills in one location and launching students into the world ready to compete.” This type of investment into quality long-term education is what EOU looks for when recruiting for the future.
The expansion of our Energy Services industry has created significant opportunity for those with vocational aspirations and technical expertise. Creating enthusiasm and investing in trade skills career opportunities to end the skills gap deserves greater attention from district officials and community leaders everywhere. The effect will make for stronger economy, community, and employment.

The Energy Optimizers, USA team is proud to support the efforts of Career-Tech leaders in developing a strong workforce for today’s jobs. We have helped numerous Ohio career-tech centers to update their facilities, including LED lighting retrofits, and have encouraged faculty to allow students to learn from and participate in the project. It’s been a great partnership! If we haven’t yet provided your district with a complementary energy and lighting audit, give us a call to schedule our visit.