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Students Graduate Ready for Construction Jobs Under New Program

Construction and Renovation Certificate Program students

Students at two Red Clay Consolidated School District high schools can graduate ready to enter several construction-related career fields under a new, joint program with Delaware Technical Community College.

The "Construction and Renovation Certificate Program" will allow students at John Dickinson and Thomas McKean high schools to earn nationally recognized certifications, and Delaware Tech course completion certificates, when they finish high school.

The program begins its pilot year during the 2012-2013 school year for high school juniors, who will attend classes at their home school for part of the day and train at Delaware Tech's state-of-the-art Innovation and Technology Center in New Castle for the remainder of the day.

The program was announced at the Innovation and Technology Center by officials from Red Clay and Delaware Tech, along with union officials, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping high school graduates find good jobs, and representatives of the Delaware Department of Labor.

"The Delaware Department of Labor is proud to be recognizing the partnership between Red Clay and Delaware Tech of this very exciting program to introduce students to the skilled trades," said John J. McMahon, Jr, Delaware secretary of labor. "It is well known that the jobs of today and tomorrow will demand advanced skill levels and those skills or lack thereof will have a direct impact on individual earning levels. Congratulations to all stakeholders in seeking to provide this opportunity for our students."

In addition to their high school diploma, students will have an opportunity to graduate with the necessary training and certifications needed for entry-level construction jobs.

"These are 'real time' job skills, provided in a post-high school environment, that we hope will encourage students to remain in school while they work toward a rewarding future," said Red Clay Superintendent Mervin B. Daugherty. "It is an example of how the public school system can work with post-secondary institutions and the private sector to create meaningful programs for our young people."

The program was developed by the Red Clay Office of District Services, headed by Burton Watson, and Delaware Tech's Workforce Development and Community Education, directed by Paul T. Morris.

"The College has a long history of working with our high schools, particularly Red Clay, but we are especially proud to offer this innovative facility, through this creative partnership, to provide these students yet another option to enrich their educational experiences,"  said Mark T. Brainard, J.D., vice president and campus director, Stanton and Wilmington Campuses, Delaware Technical Community College.

Red Clay school leaders believe the program will provide a rewarding option for their students. "This is a unique opportunity, to be able to offer such an advanced, specialized program at a traditional high school," said Byron Murphy, principal of John Dickinson High School. "For some of our students, this could be the reason they stay in school. Students who complete this program will have gone a long way toward preparing themselves for a successful future.