Finding a job—let alone a career—isn’t always easy, even for those with a degree. The Warren County Career Center (WCCC) hopes to change this. Its goal is to link individuals to meaningful careers that fulfill them.

Each year, thousands of high school and adult students at WCCC earn industry certifications that are in demand in the job market. They can also earn college credit that goes toward a degree.

“We provide our students with the competitive advantage to find a career they love, gain industry certifications and marketable skills that help them compete in the job market, and be prepared to continue their education as they advance in their career,” says WCCC Superintendent Maggie Hess.

To keep up with the ever-evolving job market, WCCC is making some upgrades in the next two to three years to be on the cutting edge. Due to budget constraints, it can only accomplish a portion of the maintenance and upgrades outlined in the district facilities master plan.

“The WCCC has been maintained immaculately over the years, but it is a 40-year-old building and needs some work,” says Ted Gilbert, CFO of Schueler Group, who was on the WCCC facilities committee. “The skills students need today are not what they were 40 years ago when the building was erected.”

Hess says, “We are going to take care of some of our most critical facility needs, keeping in mind what will best benefit student learning and their safety and security. Our cafeteria kitchen is grossly undersized and under-equipped to handle serving breakfast and lunch to hundreds of students each day.”

The cafeteria shares space with the culinary program’s lab, which is also undersized for the number of students. Peg Allen, WCCC public information relatons, says they will move the culinary program to a new, larger space with a commercial-grade kitchen and a restaurant dining area. That way, students can practice business operations and customer service skills.

“We are also converting the mini-theater, which had flooding issues, into a science lab,” explains Allen. “This will not only fix the flooding problem, but will also supply a needed science lab due to the expansion of our advanced manufacturing lab. We are using a $500,000 RAMTEC grant to purchase equipment for training and the lab will double in size.”

As the upgrades occur, Allen says they will be adding fire-suppression sprinklers to ensure the safety and security of students and staff. The sprinklers were not required when the building was first built in 1975. “The improvements we have identified for this next school year are important as they will allow us to better serve our students and business and industry,” says Allen.

Gilbert says that, today, there is a strong emphasis on young people getting a college degree. However, many individuals may not want to go to college immediately after high school or can’t afford to do so. Career centers like WCCC give these people a chance to learn technical skills and earn college credit.

“Many adults who have been in the job market need to reposition themselves to go into different jobs and careers and they need a place where they can learn new skills without incurring huge student loan debt,” Gilbert explains. “Many jobs require continuing education and the WCCC can provide that for many technical skills.”

The upgrades and improvements to the building will further advance individuals’ abilities to acquire these skills and ease into the workforce.