Fremont Public Schools Bond Issue Update
Career & Technical Education Center
Fremont, Neb. – (Aug. 26, 2021) On September 14 the citizens of Fremont will have an opportunity to decide the fate of a $123 million, no tax levy increase, bond issue. A major emphasis of the bond issue is being placed on a Career & Technical Education Center serving High School students.
“Career and Technical Education gives students a focus for the future,” said Todd Hansen, Executive Director of Student Services at Metropolitan Community College’s Fremont Area Center and current FPS Board of Education Member. “This fall we have approximately 388 students participating in CTE and dual credit courses at a greatly reduced rate, saving them and their family money while gaining valuable skill sets.”
Last spring, at Hansen’s urging, Fremont Public Schools surveyed students in grades 6 – 11 in regard to their interest in pursuing careers in various technical fields. Several areas of interest were identified through this survey leading to exploration for future programming. “The next step in the process is to identify opportunities in the community and surrounding areas with local industry to work with Fremont Public Schools in partnership with Metro to create coursework in these identified areas,” stated Scott Jensen, executive director of secondary education.
There was a time when schools taught industrial arts or industrial technology designed to teach skills that today would be considered hobby type interests. CTE courses are geared towards “High Skill, High Wage, High Demand” career opportunities. They are not designed to limit a student’s future in a particular job but rather as a gateway to a career pathway with growth potential.
Fremont currently has programming in the areas of Welding, Diesel, Health Care, Education/Teaching, Information Technologies and Criminal Justice. “Our current facilities at the high school and Metro’s Fremont Campus limit our ability to expand to include other offerings. The proposed new CTE Center identified as a prioritized project within the Bond Project List would ensure that our programming is not limited due to facilities,” stated Jensen.
“Our welding program has been a huge success and has provided us with the road map for developing similar courses of study in a variety of areas.” stated Mark Shepard, superintendent of schools. “The development of this facility will position our students, their families and our community well into the future.”
The District has built into the project list $9.5 million for a stand alone CTE Center with plans for the facility to be housed on the current high school / Clarmar field site. The design of the building would be to have 3-4 clean labs and 3-4 dirty labs. The clean labs could facilitate programming such as Health Occupations, Health Tech, Computer Graphic Design, Architecture / Drafting, Computer Technician / Coding, Robotics and Automation. The dirty labs could house programming such as Welding, Industrial Maintenance Technician, Automotive Tech, Diesel Tech and Construction Tech.
The 1,200 to 1,500 square foot clean labs and the 5,000 square foot dirty labs will be designed and equipped so they can be changed out periodically to meet the ever changing needs and opportunities presented by local industry. Grand Island, Columbus and Lincoln Public Schools have recently developed similar facilities. Local companies supported their efforts and had valuable input into the design and specifications needed to create industry relevant spaces.
Columbus leveraged local car dealerships to work directly with the design team, the school district and their community college to provide input into the Automotive Technology lab. Industry relevant tools, equipment and instruction provide students with the skills they need to pursue a career upon graduation or continue their education in this highly competitive field. “We welcome the opportunity to be involved in this important venture for Fremont, our community and our students. Fremont is home for our family and is where my father Sid Dillon started with a small Oldsmobile dealership store in 1976,” stated Sid Dillon Jr.
The CTE Center will be designed, located on the site and built with an eye to the future. The option of using this facility for attachment to a future new high school will be inherently designed into it. Location, with the future in mind, will be key for the community at a later date to determine both if and when a new high school would be needed.
To date, the District has graduated about 20 students a year that have completed the Welding program. Many students have gone on to pursue a career utilizing these valuable skills. Valmont in Valley and Columbus, Rosenbauer Aerials, S2, Timme Welding, Rebellion Fabrication, Smeal Manufacturing and Lozier in Omaha have all employed completers of the program. “Our company has supported this effort from the beginning,” stated Rob Kreikemeier of Rosenbauer. “The students come to us prepared to work. Not only do they have the technical skills which are necessary for the job, they also have acquired the soft skills which aren’t so common in the workforce today,” he concluded.
“The CTE Center is a prime example of what can be accomplished when the local school district, community college and industry leadership come together for the betterment of the community. A skilled workforce with opportunity for advancement in high need areas, through a grow your own process, is exactly what our community desires and needs,” commented Al Sawtelle, Greater Fremont Development Council board chair.
“The Health Occupations, EMT and Certified Nurses Assistant programming already in place has benefited our local health and long-term care providers in Fremont. Having a dedicated space as part of the proposed CTE Center will greatly enhance these opportunities,” stated Brett Richmond, Methodist Fremont Health CEO and Task Force for Kids campaign co-chair. “This truly represents a game changer with a long-term impact for our community,” he concluded.
Ballots were mailed out this week and are due back in the County Clerk’s office no later than 5:00 pm on September 14.
The mission statement of the Fremont Public Schools is to produce creative, adaptable, productive citizens committed to lifelong learning.BACK TO TOP