Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

May 8, 2014

Building toward 'vocational high school'

Meeting tonight to hammer out details of program

There is no denying the blue collar work ethic that has made Effingham much of what it is today. The average age of that workforce is increasing, however, with the emphasis in recent years to attend college.

To combat this trend, Effingham City Commissioners Don Althoff and Brian Milleville have come up with a program to fill the impending shortage.

“Everyone is driving kids to college, but not everyone can make college,” said Althoff, who heard at a Home Builders event recently the average age of carpenters in the area is in the mid-50s.

The commissioners put the word out to local plumbers, electricians and carpentry businesses that they were looking to create a Construction Trades program at the local high school and were overwhelmed by the response.

“It is amazing what we have gotten done in three meetings,” said Milleville, who said local business like Wente Plumbing & Heating, Akra Builders Inc. and Burford Electric have shown support. “The business community, school and city have come together in support of this.”

After hearing interest from local businesses that they supported the idea and would hire graduates of the program, the duo contacted Lake Land College.

“Lake Land provided us with a curriculum and said they would provide an instructor,” said Milleville.

With various details still being hammered out, Milleville hopes the idea can be brought before Effingham Unit 40 in coming months. Unit 40 has put an emphasis on vocational programs recently, as they have created a Manufacturing Class to teach students welding.

The Construction Trades class, as it is tentatively being called, would potentially be a two-year, dual-credit program, said Milleville.

The first year would introduce juniors to the basic skills needed in carpentry, plumbing and electric, followed by a second year that would focus on one of those three industries.

“Statistically, students that are in a trade program are less likely to drop out of high school,” said Milleville.

In addition to helping a student through school, Althoff said the class would provide skilled tradesmen that are in need.

“Even if they don’t end up working in the trade, they can learn how to work on their house when they are older,” said Althoff.

The timeline looks to bring the idea before the school board in coming months, with a potential sign-up slated for the middle of the next school year. If all goes as planned, the program would start for juniors and seniors in the Fall of 2015.

According to Milleville, if the program takes off, he hopes it can be expanded in coming years.

“We would love to have a vocational high school in Effingham,” he said.

A meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Chambers tonight.

The program is still looking for assistance from local business, whether that be donation of tools or workers to help teach a class, along with discussions on active work sites.

“We hope that the students can learn by building a home,” said Althoff.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, at tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com or on Twitter @Ednthuffman.


Text Only
Local News
  • McCarter.jpg Some lawmakers donate pay

    Illinois lawmakers restoring their pay after years of furlough days has prompted some state representatives to give back to their communities — a move some local lawmakers call a political one.

    July 27, 2014 3 Photos

  • Distance learning catching on in area

    In what appears to be a growing trend among rural school districts, a third area school district may join an existing academic cooperative.

    July 27, 2014

  • Joshua Robison.jpg Opinion: God doesn't care about party affiliation

    Reflecting on what we politely refer to in this country as “political discourse,” I am often struck by how convinced many people seem to be that their sides' specific policies and personalities are the only way to save us all from utter ruin.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ron W.jpg Opinion: Column break just that -- a break

    ‘Hey, Ron. You didn’t have a column this week. What’s the deal? It’s the reason I buy a paper on Thursdays.”

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Isom.jpg Opinion: It's about time

    Finally, someone else speaks up and it’s about time.
    I applaud Ron Worman and welcome him to take a seat on my bandwagon. His addressing the proliferation of signs of every description, virtually everywhere one looks, is a welcome additional voice — even though rare.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Feds: Effingham County was meeting place for underage sex tryst

    An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges that he traveled out of state to meet an underage person in Effingham County for sexual activity.

    July 25, 2014

  • Jail inmate attempts suicide

    An unscheduled cell check is credited for saving the life of an Effingham County Jail inmate who tried to hang himself early Thursday morning.

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman injured in Farina collision

    An accident on Washington Street sent one driver to the hospital Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Driver crashes after being forced off road

    A driver crashed after being run off the road by a semi on Interstate 70.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rollover on I-70 sends one to hospital

    An accident on Interstate-70 sent one traveler to the hospital.

    July 25, 2014

AP Video

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.