FORT WAYNE , Ind. (WFFT) -- It’s a chance for students to earn and learn in the trade industry.
On Monday, the Fort Wayne Community Schools Career Academy earned nine State Earn-and-Learn (SEAL) certifications.
It’s a work-based learning program that provides students with on-the-job training, classroom learning, and the potential to earn post-secondary credits and industry credentials.
Plans started in March of 2020, but the pandemic slowed those down.
FWCS Career Academy Principal and Director Jesse Webb said he’s glad to finally have the certifications.
“We’re really really excited about the opportunity that this adds for our students,” he said.
Webb said it comes at a time where the conversation around post-secondary opportunities is changing.
“For 20 years we heard ‘college college college, my kid’s gotta go to college,’” he said.
Webb said in the past couple of years, the trade industry has become a bigger part of the conversation.
The Career Academy can be a starting point for students to earn a living.
“Students are working and earning $17, $18, $19 an hour straight out of high school,” Webb said. “That’s pretty good for an 18 [or] 19 year old.”
The school earned nine SEAL certifications in four different fields, including construction, manufacturing, automotive and IT.
The specific certifications are in carpentry, electrical, HVAC, masonry, welding, automotive services technology, automotive collision repair, software development and networking.
“Our whole goal is to build the pipeline, continue to create ... the workforce that’s needed here in Allen County and northeast Indiana,” Webb said.
The school is partnering with local businesses who want to help create that school-to-workforce pipeline.
Edmond O’Neal of Northeast Indiana Works said the businesses are considering the future of their industries when they decide to partner with the school.
“You know you not only have a need now, but you have a need five years and 10 year from now, and programs like these are the ones that help meet those needs,” he said.
Webb said this opportunity wouldn’t be possible without those partnerships.
“They really stepped forward and said ‘Hey, we want your students, we want to be able to help train them for the workforce that we want,’” he said.