"We've done a great job of creating jobs, now we need to create the workforce." - Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy
Grand Island is edging closer to having a new kind of education facility that could lead the way for career development in Nebraska.
It's a construction zone right now, but by next fall students could be beginning their very own construction careers in the new Career Pathways Institute.
When it's completed the facility will also offer classes in manufacturing, automotive, and information technology.
GIPS says students will have hands-on experience and the chance to earn college credit as high school juniors and seniors.
"It really is a community project," says Dr. Rob Winter, GIPS Superintendent. "It's our partnership with Central Community College, it's our partnership with the business and the manufacturing industry."
As Lt. Governor Rick Sheehy and Grand Island leaders toured the institute's progress, school officials explained how this kind of education can make a graduating senior career ready, something state leaders say is needed.
"We've done a great job of creating jobs, now we need to create the workforce," says Sheehy. "We're going to have to work differently to fill those jobs."
Students have the choice to earn college credit through CCC during the program. There will also be some costs for students for tools and other necessities. But officials say they're ready to help defray some of that expense.
"I don't want any child to not have an opportunity to participate out here and earn college credit based on financial need," says Winter. "We're working hard to make sure that we have enough resources to be able to help students."
GIPS says students have to apply to be a part of the new education process because they want serious students who understand the working world's demand for attendance and dependability.
"That's in essence what business and industry has said to us is that we want kids to come out of this program, to be able to come to work for us, and be successful," says Winter.
GIPS says right now they have more than 100 students interested in starting classes when the Career Pathways Institute opens next fall.
The district has gathered about $8.5 million of the $10 million needed for the institute. They say the rest will come in the form of grants and gifts.