“The only thing that we get to take with us when we leave this world is what we leave behind. Help others, follow your heart, love what you do, and strive to become the best that you can be.” – Mr. Ken Cleveland

The Medina County Career Center (MCCC) is embarking on an ambitious expansion of its Construction Trades program, driven by unprecedented student interest and a pressing need to meet the demands of the expanding construction industry.

MCCC’s Construction Trades program has a distinguished track record of producing highly skilled workers who have gone on to pursue diverse career paths within the construction industry. “Not a day goes by that we don’t have someone in the construction industry eager to hire our students,” noted Superintendent Steven Chrisman. “However, capacity constraints have hindered our ability to meet this demand. Over the past two years, we have had a record number of students interested in taking courses in the Construction Career pathway (i.e., Construction Trades and HVAC). A large number of students were turned away due to our capacity issues. Through the programming committee, we determined that we needed to make Construction Trades a double-wide program. We simply couldn’t ignore the overwhelming interest from students and the urgent need from employers,” Chrisman emphasized. The expansion will also see the introduction of a Construction Electricity program, identified through careful analysis of Ohio’s In-Demand Jobs website.

Superintendent Chrisman reflected on when the Ken Cleveland Foundation reached out to MCCC to see how they may assist us. “The Foundation was given the charge to improve healthcare and students going into the trades. They had just sponsored the Cleveland Clinic facility in Brunswick and were ready to focus on the later of the charge. We went back and forth several times with ideas and finally met with the Board for the Foundation. I stated, ‘I don’t know what you really want from us….am I supposed to dream big?  To do something that I couldn’t otherwise do on our own?’  They said, ‘Dream big.”  At that time, I presented them with the idea of expanding Construction Trades and how that could be done.  A short time later, I heard from the chairman that the group had never seen a more well thought out presentation and said that they were willing to donate $2.5M towards the dream!” Chrisman expressed gratitude to the Ken Cleveland Foundation for their commitment to supporting workforce development initiatives. “It’s heartening to see stakeholders come together to address the skills gap and empower young adults to thrive in the construction industry,” he remarked.

Instructor Todd Mason, whose extensive experience in the construction industry spans decades, underscored the pressing need for skilled workers. “The demand for construction jobs is at an all-time high,” Mason remarked. “From infrastructure projects to new buildings and homes, the need for skilled labor is evident. Graduates have secured positions in various trades, joined trade unions, pursued higher education in architecture, engineering, and construction management, or launched successful construction businesses.” Acknowledging the generous donation by the Ken Cleveland Foundation, Mason stated, “their donation allowed the expansion of the Construction Trades program to twice the size as well as allowing them to work in a new state-of-the-art building with the latest in industry tools. The gift has also made possible the addition of the new Construction Electricity program to the course offerings at MCCC. This will help MCCC bring 100 new skilled workers into the construction, HVAC, and electrical fields every year.”

The expansion of MCCC’s Construction Trades and the introduction of the Construction Electricity program signals a proactive response to the evolving needs of both students and the construction sector. With construction projects on the rise and demand for skilled workers at an all-time high, the investment in MCCC’s campus and program expansion promises to yield dividends for the community and the economy at large.