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Arvin Center offers career opportunities

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By Tracy Harris

The Arvin Center provides a number of career-based courses for students at each district high school.

Students continue taking general education courses at their home school while attending classes at the Arvin Center, located on the Oldham County High School campus in Buckner.

“The vision of the school is for students to leave here with dual credit or a certification that puts them ahead in college or able to be employed in a field of interest while they gain further certification,” said Matt Watkins, associate principal and director of the Arvin Center.

The center offers four career clusters — automative, culinary arts, information technology and health sciences. 

Many courses are dual credit with specific post-secondary schools. 

Students can take entry-level classes as stand-alones to fill elective credits — courses like automotive basics or basic cooking.

In the past three years, the Arvin Center has seen considerable growth — more than 60 students were turned away just in the health sciences program, according to Watkins. This year, about 350 students are enrolled in Arvin Center programs.

As fewer college students are able to find employment after graduation, there’s a shift nationwide to career-oriented education.

According to a Rutgers University study released in May, only 51 percent of students graduating college since 2006 have a full-time job. 

And it’s getting worse — fewer than half of students who graduated since 2009 found their first job within 12 months of graduation.

Several years ago, the state legislature cut funding for technical and career programs at local high schools. Oldham County Board of Education members voted to direct local funding to the Arvin Center.

In August, Gov. Steve Beshear combined local and state career and technical education systems under one umbrella to create a unified system at the middle and high school level.

Both local and state systems are now part of the Kentucky Department of Education.

The state also has 53 technical centers for 123 school districts, paid for with state funds.

Local high schools operate career and technical schools using state and local funds.

“In order to offer more complete majors, we — as a district and a school — will have to find ways to meet facility needs for space and instructor needs for great education,” Watkins said.

While he hopes the merger will offer some relief to those issues, he plans to continue improving offerings for student careers before, during and after college.

Students interested in Arvin Center classes should meet with a guidance counselor at their high school.

For more info on Arvin Center courses, visit oldham.k12.ky.us/arvin or call 222-0131.