The holiday season brings many thoughts and emotions for me. First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful for the many blessings of my wife, three children and entire family. Without their unwavering support, I would not be able to pursue my passions.
While my family has been, and always will be, the center of my world, I want to focus on my passion: Education. Over the course of the last year, the educational environment in Bucyrus and Crawford County has begun a positive transformation that will benefit everyone, and I am incredibly grateful for this progress for several reasons.
First, I want to focus on the outstanding community accomplishment in bringing the Crawford Success Center to the community. This educational hub is the result of a public-private partnership campaign led by Crawford: 20/20 Vision, in collaboration with officials from Crawford County and North Central State College. Business and education leaders throughout the region contributed to the vision that is embodied in the Crawford Success Center.
The Crawford Success Center serves as an entry point for students who need to complete a high school diploma, enroll in College Credit Plus or work towards a certificate or associate degree; offers classes, workforce training, professional development, and seminars on-site; and provides access to Student Services of North Central State College. While this center is housed in Bucyrus, the goal is for its services to be utilized by all community members in the entire county.
The second community accomplishment I am incredibly grateful for is the new North Central Ohio Adult Diploma Program, which is funded through the Adult Diploma Program Planning Grant. The program will provide education leading to certification in State Testing Assistant (STNA) or welding, two in-demand areas with plentiful local job openings.
The Adult Diploma Program assists those age 22 or older in completing their high school diplomas while also earning their credential or certification. As part of the training provided, project participants will receive academic instruction in order to help them achieve the minimum WorkKeys. The WorkKeys are work readiness benchmarks necessary for their chosen career pathways.
Finally, I want to touch upon the Community Connectors Grant that was awarded to Crawford County. The grant is being used to implement the Leader in Me, a leadership development and community development program, in all six schools in Crawford County. The grant also provides the necessary funding for the WAGE (Workforce Awareness for Graduates and Educators) program, the annual Senior Day, senior capstone projects and mentoring opportunities.
Ultimately, all of these programs are great additions to our already strong educational community. Whether a recent high school graduate that is looking to continue their education by obtaining an Associate’s Degree or taking courses that will transfer to the four year institution, to the 35 year old that didn’t complete high school and wants to earn a high school diploma because they know it provides a foundation for a better job and life, both of these provide outstanding opportunities for individuals position themselves to provide a better live for them and their families.
In closing, I need to thank the countless individuals who have contributed to bringing these opportunities to Crawford County. While their names are important, it’s the work, time and effort that these individuals dedicate every day that should be recognized and acknowledged. I, for one, appreciate and salute their commitment to making Crawford County a better place to live, work, play and raise a family.