Wednesday, June 16, 1999

Camp lays new career paths

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SHARONVILLE — With a mix of bricks and mortar, Christina Turner and Tia Oldfield were on their way Tuesday to experiencing a taste of a mason's life.

        The exercise was just part of a weeklong program at Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus to expose students to different fields and to spark their interest in vocational education.

        More than 1,100 students from schools in Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Hamilton and Warren counties are participating in similar camps this week at 11 sites.

        The emphasis is on careers in technology and the importance of math and science skills. The students also will receive information about labor market trends.

        “This is a way to expose them to some options and to some nontraditional careers,” said Jean Ciancio, spokeswoman for Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development, which operates the Scarlet Oaks Career Development Campus.

        The camps offer activities in career planning, introduction to career and educational options, goal-setting and decision-making.

        A big part of the camp is the hands-on experience in business, construction, electronics, health and manufacturing technology. A college visit and an industry visit are also scheduled.

        This is the age to start getting students interested in vocational education. “They are getting ready to go into high school. Their minds are still open,” said Rodney Dunaway, coordinator for the Scarlet Oaks camp.

        Students who have been involved in vocational education are “interested in the business and computer-type stuff,” he said. “There is lack of interest in construction and machine trades.”

        Rick Davis, masonry instructor at Scarlet Oaks, said masonry workers are in high demand.

        “It's not the back-breaking thing it used to be,” Mr. Davis said.

        Before participating in the high-tech camp, Christina Turner had her share of brick-building when she built a house for her dog.

        Christina, 16, a ninth-grader at Norwood High School, decided to participate in the high-tech camp because it “was a good way to see what I can do and a good way to stay out of trouble at home.”

        Often a spectator when her father would do brick work, Tia Oldfield, 14, also a Norwood High School freshman, said she now has a new trade.

        “It is something new to learn,” Tia said. “My dad does this kind of stuff. I can help him now.”

        Computers also are part of the camp.

        Darlene Dunaway, business technology instructor at the tech camp, taught students the basics of using a digital camera.

        Josh James, 14, a ninth-grader at Winton Woods, said the tech camp has helped him to “find out what I wanted to do when I get older.”


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