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Tech Schools Celebrate Students Entering the Workforce

May 12, 2022 - During the month of May,North Tech student signs letter of intent and South Tech student shakes hands with employer. North and South Tech High Schools celebrated seniors who are embarking on a new chapter in their lives. Both schools hosted Singing Day, a ceremony that recognizes students who have made commitments to regional companies.

“What they are doing is honorable. It takes a lot of effort to go through the curriculum and head right into the workforce,” said South Tech Principal Jacob Lohse. His words to the students honored noted their diligence when he said during the ceremony, “Congratulations, this is your pay off for working so hard at school and for following your passion. We are so proud of you.” 

Signing days are traditionally done for student athletes who commit to a college sports team, but SSD’s technical high schools feel strongly that the commitments made by the students deserve to be acknowledged.​ North Tech Principal Rhonda Wallace says tech students should receive the same amount of credit. 

“This is important because they deserve recognition for their hard work, dedication, and hard and soft skills that they have been taught here,” said Dr. Wallace. “They have knocked it out of the park, as does any student on this campus."

Over 20 students signed a Letter of Intent, which signifies their dedication to help close the skills gap and begin careers with their employer. South Tech senior Colin Putnam made the decision to work for Cheltenham Construction Services (CCS) as a trim carpenter. He started working for CCS just three days before the ceremony. 

“I think the union pays really well and the main thing is, I saw how successful Mr. Westoff [South Tech’s Carpentry instructor] was and how he built his life by being in the union," said Putnam. "That is what I want for sure. You have to give Mr. Westoff a lot of credit. He is a one of a kind teacher. Also, I’ll be able to make a good living for myself and raise kids comfortably.” 

Senior student Caleb Wilson is in the North Tech Precision and Machining Program and has already been working for his company, Tool Specialities, for nearly a year. He chose the program because it is hands-on and a mix of both computer and machining skills. His plan is to work full-time as much as possible and to take night classes at Southwestern Illinois College. 

“I wanted to work because it will build on my experience and give me credibility beyond college,” said Wilson. “There are a lot of people there who know more than I do and I want to get their wisdom before I move on. It is a smaller company, so they have more time to be with me individually and teach me specific skills.” 

Companies that students signed with included Academy Air, Complete Auto Body, CV Contracting, DJM Ecological, Goldkamp Heating and Cooling and more.