Tri-County Career Center aims for a slice of state trade school funding

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NELSONVILLE, Ohio (WOUB/Report for America) — Tri-County Career Center is hoping to improve its facilities and equipment with money from the state’s recently passed biennial budget.

The budget allocates $300 million for trade schools statewide. Of that, $200 million is set aside for facilities and $100 million for equipment.

Tri-County Superintendent Connie Altier said she has already applied for facilities funding.

“Diesel ag was my number one, to expand that lab out. A classroom off the side of electricity was number two, and then to remodel and add onto my IT area on the other side was three,” Altier said.

As part of Tri-County’s pitch, Altier gave a tour of the school’s professional training programs to state lawmakers and other regional stakeholders on Wednesday. Each program has its own lab that replicates an actual work setting, whether it be an auto repair shop, a hair salon, or a fire station. Students in the criminal justice program even have a mock jail cell where they learn to search for contraband.

Tri-County Superintendent Connie Altier speaks in the auto tech lab at Tri-County.
Tri-County Superintendent Connie Altier discussed the school’s auto tech program during the tour. [Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB Public Media/Report for America]
Altier said the school will also apply for equipment funding once those applications open. She said her instructors were excited at the prospect of enhancing their labs.

“I have a stack from all of my instructors of their wishlist (for equipment), so as soon as that is available, we’re ready to go,” Altier said.

Rep. Jay Edwards and Bruce Nottke chat while walking down a hallway with a glass roof at Tri-County Career Center.
Rep. Jay Edwards talks with school board member Bruce Nottke during a tour of Tri-County Career Center. [Theo Peck-Suzuki | WOUB Public Media/Report for America]
State Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Chillicothe), who attended the tour, said he hopes trade schools can help reduce workforce shortages in his district.

“I like what I see about the correction officer training,” Johnson said. “There’s two prisons there in Chillicothe, and one of them’s short 58 correction officers.”

The Chillicothe Correctional Institution confirmed they are currently short about 55 officers.