Great Oaks Career Campuses revealed its two-year $42 million renovations and expansion at its Laurel Oaks Campus on a windy afternoon, Wednesday, September 8th.
The formal program featured an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony with remarks made by Kevin Abt, Laurel Oaks Dean of Instruction, Harry Snyder, President/CEO of Great Oaks Career Campuses, three Laurel Oaks Alumni, Ohio Governor Mike Dewine and Bill Ferguson, Chair – Great Oaks Board of Directors.
During the current school year, students from 17 area high schools represent the student population at Laurel Oaks. This campus is one of four Great Oaks campuses in the Cincinnati metro and is the third Great Oaks campus for renovation upgrades to provide cutting-edge skill trade training.
Governor Mike Dewine and first Lady, Fran Dewine, took a tour of the revamped campus. Governor Dewine stated the latest updates were phenomenal.
“These kids have goals, they have dreams, and it’s a great thing,” said Governor Dewine. “What we want for our kids is for them to have potential and live up to their potential, have a passion and have a skill-set.”
Great Oaks works across four different locations to provide innovative career training to empower individuals and communities. Diamond Oaks is located on the SW Side of Cincinnati on Harrison Avenue. According to the Great Oaks website, the Diamond Oaks campus offers 19 career programs total. The career programs that could lead to a job in manufacturing include Aviation Maintenance, CNC Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Commercial & Residential Electricity, and Welding. Scarlet Oaks campus is located in Sharonville, and according to its website, offers 21 career programs. Another noteworthy program at Scarlet Oaks is the Engineering Technologies and Robotics program that often propels students into manufacturing or industrial career pathways. Live Oaks is located in Milford, OH, just east of Cincinnati. Some manufacturing pathways are offered among its 15 Career programs, according to its website, including CNC Advanced Manufacturing Technologies, Welding, and the IT Academy.
Virtual tours of the new labs are available on the Great Oaks campus websites. Great Oaks offers essential skills in their high school and adult programs; all programs are free for high school students.
Students spend 2.5 hours of their school day getting hands-on training in the career program labs with instructors that have spent time working in the field.
Great Oaks has agreements with local universities to give eligible students college credit or advanced standing for classes taken at Great Oaks. Great Oaks students are also eligible for industry certification exams to work and advance in their fields following graduation, and the school pays for each student to take their first industry certification test.
“When businesses come to Ohio. The number one question they ask [is], ‘do you have the people to fill the jobs that we have?’ ‘do you have the people that have the skill set to fill the jobs?’” explained Governor Dewine. “I’m optimistic about Ohio because of Laurel Oaks, because of Great Oaks, because of our other institutions around the state of Ohio. I wanted to be here today to congratulate everyone who made this happen; thank you. You have not only the future of the kids in your hands, but you have the future of this state. I feel very proud and optimistic for that future.”
Live Oaks is the fourth campus, currently undergoing renovations as well. Programming does change among the four campuses from time to time. Administration and Faculty works with businesses and industry partners to identify local employment needs. Parents and students are invited to attend evening open houses that typically take place in January/February to see the campus, check out the programs and identify their interests prior to enrollment.
Laurel Oaks was founded in 1970 and opened it’s doors to students in 1972. Great Oaks has a long history of alumni with notable accomplishments. Some of those, AMIP has identified as following a robust career path in the manufacturing industry sector.
Dale Bartholomew – Owner, Daleco
Welding Program Alumnus
Dale Bartholomew completed the Live Oaks Welding program and graduated from Anderson High School in 1975. He immediately began his career in the kitchen equipment industry. He worked for a dealer for 13 years and became an expert in the field of commercial kitchen design and installation for all types of foodservice operations. In 1990, he launched Daleco, a company that has grown steadily through the years to serve clients in greater Cincinnati and across the United States. Customers include large chain fast food operations, the Great American Ball Park and the recently renovated Cincinnati Convention Center.
Chad Eastham – National Sales Manager, Technicote
Marketing Management and Operations Program Alumnus
After graduating from high school, Chad became a manager for Thom McAnn, where he hired several Great Oaks marketing co-op students. He later went into industrial sales and is currently the national sales manager for Technicote, a company that develops, manufactures and distributes products for the label converting industry. He is responsible for leading the company’s Midwest sales operations and working with company representatives in eight territories to implement the growth strategies.
Gary Grubert – VP Sales and Marketing, Gasket Resource Inc.
Sales and Marketing Program Alumnus
After high school graduation and completion of the Live Oaks Sales and Marketing program, Gary Grubert earned an associate’s degree in Marketing Management and Industrial Sales from Cincinnati Technical College. He also earned various certifications from Wharton School of Business.
Gary first stepped on the career ladder as an industrial sales and distribution associate for Gasket Resources, Inc., an international fluid-sealing manufacturer. He is now the vice president of sales and marketing for the company and produces all of GRI’s literature as well. He has successfully negotiated strategic alliance agreements with major companies such as General Electric. The Material Technology Institute and other organizations have recognized his efforts to eliminate hazardous chemical leaks through the promotion of Bolted Joint Best Practices.
James W. Sumner – Manager of Group Environmental Programs, GE Aviation
Scarlet Oaks Environmental Science Program Alumnus
James continued his education in Environmental Science at the Florida Institute of Technology, where he received his Bachelor of Science with Honors in 1978. He has taken graduate courses in air pollution at the University of Cincinnati. He was the supervisor of Air Pollution Control Unit at the Dayton Office of the Ohio EPA for ten years, then became an environmental engineer for General Electric. Since 1991, he has served as the manager of Group Environmental Programs for General Electric Aviation’s Environmental Affairs and Safety Department.
Tim Young – Senior Analyst Programmer, Cincinnati Milacron
Tim Young began his career at Cincinnati Milacron as a data processor in the Plastics Machinery Division. He worked for the Clermont County Board of Elections for a while and then returned to Cincinnati Milacron where he is currently a senior analyst/programmer.