Episode 69

The role of career centers in public education

Guest:Bob Timmons

In this episode of We Love Schools, host Carole Dorn-Bell speaks with Bob Timmons, Superintendent of Polaris Career Center, about the role of career centers in public education.

Timmons discusses how career centers interact with K-12 districts and the future of career centers in public education.

Ohio is fortunate to have a robust career center organization educationally, and Polaris Career Center has shown tremendous growth in the last several years. Dorn-Bell mentions that success begets success, and that the Polaris Career Center’s enrollment has increased over the last four years by 155%.

“We’re very fortunate, and we’ve really worked with our partner schools to become a part of their districts, and that has led to a big part of our growth,” Timmons says.

Polaris Career Center is composed of three main sub-organizations: adult education, a main campus that serves juniors and seniors, and finally satellite programs in associate districts.

The satellite program in particular has been successful. Timmons says that this success is largely driven by working with the Polaris partner districts.

“How can we become less of a building and more of a philosophy? How can we take career tech to them?” Timmons asks. He says answering these questions has led to the success of their satellite programs.

“It really is a funnel of helping students on a career path.”

Dorn-Bell asks what sort of issues might come into play with career centers versus the typical public education model.

Timmons says that working with associate districts’ via the new satellite programs has helped alleviate some of the anxiety that would have typically been associated with leaving a high school for a career center.

He says that a combination of offering high-quality programs, hiring a fantastic staff and implementing targeted marketing has led to their success, despite most of their associate districts’ dealing with shrinking population.

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