Promising Practices in Vocational-Technical Education
Lakeland Community College and Lakeland Tech Prep Consortium, Kirtland, Ohio
Type of School: Community College -- Tech Prep Consortium
Type of Location: Suburban
- 1998 American Association of Community Colleges Parnell Tech Prep Award winner
The Lakeland Tech Prep Consortium includes 35 school districts, 4 Vocational Education Planning Districts, one community college, and one state university. Programs are designed to provide high school students with options that prepare them for high tech careers in computer-integrated manufacturing, electronics, health care, computer information systems, and interactive media production. In the 11th grade, students select one of the 5 occupational areas along with high level courses in math, science, and communications. Students then continue their education at Lakeland Community College and pursue an associate degree in technology. Lakeland Community College recently signed articulation agreements with Cleveland State University and the University of Toledo to provide another seamless path for tech prep students pursuing a bachelor's degree in technology.
- Institutional Commitment/Staff Development:
- Guidance and Student Support:
The Lakeland Tech Prep Consortium has a wide range of partnerships with secondary and postsecondary educators, local businesses, civic organizations, and regional economic development councils. Local employers have a significant influence in the development of each tech prep program. Through Ohio's Tech Prep Competency Profile (TCP) process, practitioners and educators meet face-to-face to share their expertise and to identify the technical and academic skills as well as the attributes that are necessary to succeed in a specific occupational cluster.
The consortium offers a successful summer internship program; 21 companies (ranging from a billion dollar company to a one person, sole proprietorship) hired and paid the students. A number of companies are paying tuition or providing a scholarship to Lakeland Community College for the interns. Other companies contributed to the Lakeland Tech Prep Scholarship Fund. The consortium supports the supervisors of tech prep students with mentorship training.
Lakeland, Lorain, and Cuyahoga Community Colleges share a National Science Foundation grant with Cleveland State University. The project integrates the efforts of the participating educational and industrial partners and establishes a seamless approach to manufacturing education that addresses the needs of regional employers. Lakeland's Manufacturing Learning Center will provide tech prep students with real-world experience producing metal and plastic parts for local businesses.
The Lakeland Tech Prep Consortium plays a leadership role in the statewide School-to-Work initiative; Lakeland's president serves on the Governor's School-to-Work Advisory council.
Through Ohio's Tech Prep Competency Profile process, business and industry representatives determine the academic and occupational competencies needed for a student to be successful in their field. Educators then review the detailed list and determine whether each competency should be taught at the secondary or postsecondary level. In a final joint meeting, business representatives and educators clarify any issues, and discuss how they can help each other. As a result of the TCP, curriculum modifications have occurred at both the secondary and postsecondary levels.
Another important aspect of the curriculum is a commitment to provide students with a wide range of instructional strategies that include hands-on experiences that relate academic concepts to real-world applications. Two components are applied academics and employability skills. The consortium has implemented the Center for Occupational Research and Development's Principles of Technology and AIT's Workplace Readiness. In addition, the Auburn Career Center (one of the consortium's high school partners) has allocated $100,000 for each of the feeder high schools to install new technology labs that will introduce 8th-10th graders to the tech prep programs at the Career Center and Lakeland Community College.
The consortium coordinator and staff help high school counselors market tech prep. Efforts include a quarterly newsletter, local newspaper articles, brochures, presentations, and a statewide teleconference. All tech prep students receive a monthly newsletter. The consortium's marketing consultant coordinates a regional and statewide Tech Prep Showcase. The Showcase, similar in format to a science fair, will feature tech prep students' outstanding work.
The program is directed by a Tech Prep Coordinator, assisted by a Tech Prep Specialist, a Career Services Liaison, and a Secretary. The staffing pattern represents the equivalent of three full-time positions devoted entirely to tech prep activities.
Since 1990, the member school districts and the college have contributed more than $200,000 in matching funds and in-kind services to support the tech prep consortium. Each school day, 90 high school students use Lakeland Community College's engineering facilities for instruction in the manufacturing, electronics, and computer information systems tech prep programs. In 1995, the Auburn Career Center opened a new wing with classrooms specifically designed for tech prep.
The consortium supports a variety of strategies for delivering staff development. One example is a series of luncheon seminars organized by the Excellence in Teaching Committee focusing on instructional issues. Another example is membership in the Greater Cleveland Educational Development Center which offers professional development activities.
Each 8th grader in the consortium completes an Individual Career Plan (ICP) that includes short term and long term educational and career goals. It is updated each year. The consortium provides a program for 8th graders and school counselors focusing on non-traditional careers.
The consortium helps students make the transition from high school to Lakeland Community College by providing many activities including pre-registration, early assessment to provide any necessary remediation so students are prepared for college level courses, and support from Lakeland's Counseling Department. Once enrolled in college, tech prep students access support services such as individual tutoring, small group instruction, developmental course work, and computer-assisted instruction.
The consortium uses a computerized student tracking system to track every tech prep student from the time they enter the program in the 11th grade to the time they graduate from Lakeland. The program is also evaluated annually by MGT of America, which is conducting a statewide evaluation.
For more information, contact:
Tech Prep Coordinator
Lakeland Community College
7700 Clocktower Drive
Kirtland, OH 44094-5198
Lakeland Community College