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Published 10:25 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2006
By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES -Too many young people are leaving Berrien County for college and not coming back.
That was a major concern mentioned Monday afternoon by Paul Bergan. The Director of Career and Technical Education for Berrien County Intermediate School District was speaking to members of the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club.
A program that is increasing the number of high achieving young professionals in the area is Berrien County ISD Career/Technical Education, Bergan said.
Through the program, students choose one of six career paths - arts and communication; business management and marketing technology; engineering, manufacturing and industrial technology; health science; human services; and agriscience and natural resources.
Many of the career paths give students access to internships and mentoring. Plus, Bergan said statewide, 99 percent of those who complete CTE graduate high school.
CTE has three academies -Professional Health Careers Academy, Machine Tool Academy and Engineering Academy - that give both high school and college credit, he added.
In 2004 and 2005, the number of college classes offered by Lake Michigan College held in Berrien County high school buildings increased from 47 to 206, and,1,086 high school students received college credit from LMC in those classes during the same period.
The Berrien County ISD now offers CTE in 14 of the county's high schools and Niles Community Schools was the first to adopt the program, Bergan said. The district has hosted educators from around the country who observed how the schools arrange their curriculum and students choose their course work, Bergan added.
The role of the ISD is to work with the county's school districts and give students the facilities, opportunities and leadership to succeed. “We're kind of the mayonnaise on the sandwich. We kind of hold the whole thing together,” he said.
The Berrien County CTE program served 4,691 middle and high school students in the 2004-2005 school year.