Seeking levy passage

For $2.56 per month per household, an Apollo Career Center administrator says the staff can better be able to fulfill the school’s mission of teaching students, young and adult, the skills they will need for the rest of their lives.

Auglaize County voters will participate in deciding the fate of a property levy to support the Apollo Career Center so the Shawnee-based school can leverage $23 million in matching funds through the Ohio School Facilities Commission when they go to the polls next Tuesday, May 7. The local and state money will be used to improve, expand and renovate the buildings and facilities to meet the needs of 21st century learning.

“Passage of this tax levy means we will be able to fulfill our mission of striving to provide relevant and meaningful career training for those in high school and those in our adult classes,” Apollo Career Center Superintendent Judy Wells said. “It will allow us to continue to provide training that affords students of all ages the opportunity to make significant contributions to our community and economy.”

Wells said people would be amazed at the changes the school’s curriculum has undergone since it was created nearly four decades ago.

“If you are in your 40s, 50s or 60s, I think if you try to visually what Apollo was back then you would be totally stunned by what we have now and what we offer now,” Wells said, noting the core curriculum of English, math, social studies and science have been expanded. “We still have carpentry, cosmetology and welding — we still have the types of training programs for the markets that might have been there so many years ago, but what people have a hard time grasping is the revolutions that have taken place.

“People need to realize the industrial world of 40 years ago, 50 years ago has marched onward and because of technology it is like entering another world,” she said. “The only thing that has stayed pretty much the same is the bricks and mortar.”

It is the bricks and mortar which needs upgrades and expanding curriculum requires additional buildings.

She said staff and administration are quick to point out the Apollo Career Center building is 36 years old and has plumbing, heating and electrical issues and a  need for more space and technology upgrades exists.

Wells said the current facilities would be renovated and two additions to be added to the campus. The building is not being torn down for another school building to be constructed.

Residents in 11 school districts in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin and Putnam counties would be assessed $2.56 per month if their property is valued at $100,000.

Wells said voters should know her staff provides students with options including career-based intervention, which is a one-year cooperative program for students who attend classes for part of the school day and work at an on-the-job training station for part of the day.

Students also can earn college credits while attending Apollo because of agreements with several local colleges.

Students also can take advantage of a staff which is integrated into local, state and national businesses through Apollo’s placement and school-to-career services.

The Apollo staff “has strong relationships with many area businesses and has had great success finding job leads for our graduates in their chosen careers,” Wells said. “Local employers have been very happy with our graduates.”

Wells also said she is proud of her current staff and the students they have and have graduated. Their goal remains the same — to help the students attending Apollo reach their goals so they can attain their dreams and can also be contributing members of society.

She wants people to look at the $2.56 per month as an investment in the future. With manufacturing facilities and businesses seeing shortages in skilled labor positions in the near future, Apollo is working to help meet those needs and the needs and dreams of its students.

“I think if you look at it from an economic perspective, whether it is personal economic growth or community economic growth, then the training has to be what makes that human being the most marketable person they can be and their education here enables that person to have choices in their life to help carry them forward no matter what they want to do,” Wells said. “You have to be able to say the things that are here at the Apollo Career Center are going to set a student’s feet on a path that is going to be able to prosper you first as a human being, allow you to make a descent living and to be a contributing member of the community — by improving this school we will be better able to help students realize their dreams and be important, contributing members of society.

“Their training also has to made them marketable and their skills portable so what they learned here, the training here they have attained here is at a high enough level that when they walk out of here, they can go anywhere they want and use it to their advantage,” she said. “I really believe Apollo will give them a leg up in almost every industry you, as a voter, or they, as a student, can think of.”