There are many pathways to a fulfilling career. For high school students, stressing over SAT scores and college choices seems to be the norm, but missing from the spotlight are the many high school graduates who seek an alternate route to the traditional four-year college degree.
There is demand in the economy for non-college graduates. According to the Society of Human Resources Management, the most significant need for skills is not only in highly-skilled STEM positions but also middle-skilled positions like carpentry, plumbing, welding and special machinery. A recent Georgetown University Center report on Education and the Workforce found that middle-skilled positions now account for 24 percent of ‘good’ jobs in the United States, a testament to the vibrancy of the middle-skills economy.
“A growing array of approaches [have] evolved to prepare students for middle-skills jobs, including apprenticeships, on-the-job training, college career and technical education, customized training, non-credit education, certificates, certifications and associate degrees,” the report says.
Most high schools, however, continue solely preparing students for college. As a result of this neglect towards employment preparation, the country loses focus on the value of blue-collar work and students lose out on the opportunity to test different experiences and pathways in life.
Milo Adventist Academy bucks this trend. College is not the only path to success and this boarding school, nestled in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, recognizes this.
To meet the demands of students and families who want a standard college preparatory education that prepares them for the next stage of life, the school’s Certificate Programs train learners in their vocation of choice during an optional fifth year, preparing them for success in the workplace. Options include welding, auto mechanics, culinary arts, agriculture and commercial machinery. In addition to receiving a college preparatory diploma, students are also able to receive respected certificates in specialized industries.
“Education is not doing students any good if it is not equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge needed in real work and higher education environments,” says Randy Thornton, Principal at Milo Adventist Academy.
“Our standard curriculum and certificate programs are taking the student learning environment to the next level. The goal is to ensure students are not only ready for real-world work or higher education environments, but it gives them a true taste of career paths they may be interested in while in a safe and cost-friendly environment.”
Founded in 1954, the Academy is dedicated to creating opportunities to develop a Christlike character, promote educational excellence and discover a passion for service in a safe, nurturing and friendly learning environment. It’s a fully-accredited high school through the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), the Seventh-day Adventist North American Division Commission on Accreditation, and the Adventist Accreditation Association (AAA).
This Christian high school may seem to be distant from life’s hustle and bustle, but it understands the needs and demands of both the local and national economy. Middle-skills jobs – those that require more education or training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree – are a critical component of the American economy.
Elevating such middle-skilled work is the Academy and its intermediate and advanced certificate programs, offered in a handful of vocational trades. Its Agriculture Hand Certificate program provides the basic skills and knowledge related to gardening and farming that are typically required for apprentice farmers in real-world agriculture environments.
As an add-on to the experiential academic agriculture courses offered here, students receive complementary training on the whole process of what happens from farm to plate. This includes hands-on learning, planting and harvesting, preparing and sale in local market environments, as well as field trips and guest instructors to enhance the overall learning and teaching experience.
Another top-notch offering at the Academy is its Culinary Science & Food Service Certificate Program. To impart skills and knowledge related to the food service industry in both small and large industry settings, certified and formally educated food service professionals with decades of experience provide hands-on training in a large-scale school cafeteria kitchen, as well as a small-scale cannery. The aim is to arm students with the insight typically required for apprentice food service positions in real-world working environments.
The Certificate Programs have so far been warmly received by industry. Local businesses who have received students from the Academy don’t just describe them as great workers, but ones with good work ethics. This underscores the comprehensive nature of the Academy’s certificate programs. Here, both hard and soft skills are given equal focus. Students who arrive at the Academy are usually not “work-ready”, but the Academy ensures they graduate with a strong command of general work skills like responsibility, timeliness, staying on task, showing initiative and being a team player.
For international students, the Academy has an extensive English Language Learning (ELL) and Cultural Immersion Program where, in addition to attending usual classes, they can catch up on English speech and writing skills, go on special field trips that promote cultural and historic learning, and take TOEFL Jr and SAT/ACT test prep courses.
When all is examined, it’s clear that Milo Adventist Academy brings the ultimate balance to school-level academics. In addition to its standard, high-quality curriculum, Milo Adventist Academy also provides a premier, hands-on training education.
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