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Letters to the Editor

SERBY: Support career technical education

There was an article in The Washington Post headlined “Skilled-labor shortage makes home repairs a headache.”

When Ottawa High School ended vocational education (now called Career Technical Education), it turned a headache into a migraine. CTE programs provide basics in carpentry, plumbing, electrical, and other practical job skills. Coupled with a cooperative education (work-study) program to allow juniors and seniors to work with area employers and earn high school credits creates the bridge to employment after high school graduation. This allows young La Salle County citizens to live and work in the community rather than be drawn to Chicagoland or other states.

I now live in Colorado Springs, Colo., where an entire high school was converted into a CTE school. I spent 16 years as a public school classroom teacher, cooperative education coordinator, school counselor, assistant principal, and principal. By far, my favorite period was as a cooperative education coordinator working with students and their employers at St. Charles High School — 75 percent of those students, who were regarded as non-college bound, ended up going on to college or higher levels of training often paid for by their employers. Let’s give our young people a reason to live and work in La Salle County. Registered voters in La Salle County should recruit and vote for board members who will support Career Technical Education and restore common-sense skills-based programs for our students. Once a Pirate, always a Pirate!

Richard Serby

OHS Class of 1967

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