As the new superintendent of Lorain County Joint Vocational School (JVS), Dr. Glenn Faircloth is helping the institution in its role as an economic and educational force in the area.
Indeed, Faircloth likens his role to that of a CEO — responsible for the well-being of the organization in terms of operations, academics, safety, the whole gamut. But a big part of his mission is to serve as a liaison between the school and community, establishing partnerships with local businesses and getting the word out about the services JVS has to offer.
“One of my goals is to make JVS an integral part of this community,” Faircloth explains, “Another is to build on our reputation to bring it to the premiere level.”
When discussions about career readiness for Lorain County take place, Faircloth wants JVS to be an integral part of them. “Career readiness allows us to provide our students with tools, certifications, education and whatever else they need to hit the ground running and start on their career paths right away,” he says. This can mean preparing students with credits to apply toward college, certifications that make them ready for immediate employment in their career field, or a relationship foundation to enter into an
Think of JVS as more of a career technical center than a vocational school, because schools like it provide an array of career path services. JVS serves students from 13 school districts as well as local businesses within the county. Plus adults from Lorain or neighboring counties can take advantage of education and services on a tuition basis with many students being eligible for financial aid.
While a great number of students take advantage of the school’s services, Faircloth is confident he will see that number rise. “As we begin to expose our services to communities, people will become more interested. What we offer is a little different than college because the courses are very specific to a particular career.” He says JVS offers a much faster path to work for students, and adults use the center for quick refresher courses or changing careers. Faircloth calls this quick path a pipeline.
“We’re proud to be having robust discussions toward creating a true pipeline to specific companies in Lorain County and also directly into Lorain County Community College,” he says. “These are real opportunities for our people.”
The pipeline, as Faircloth envisions it, is a partnership with local companies to train and educate students on points that make them excellent candidates for employment or internships. “We already have many established partnerships with students working part time at these pipeline companies as high-school students — while gaining additional training at JVS during school hours — then going on to have a promising career with that company immediately upon graduation.”
He says many of these industry partners even serve on JVS advisory committees for various programs, allowing the school to get feedback from the industry. These are exactly the kind of business partnerships Faircloth wants more of.
It’s a real win-win, because not only are students graduating with specific skills to enter a specific job right away, the companies are gaining entry-level employees with custom-tailored training under their belt. What’s more, the training is aligned enough with common curriculum that the student can have the choice to go to that company or into the industry at large — with a leg up on the competition no matter which path he or she chooses.
But it’s important to remember that, while industry-specific training is offered here, so are college courses that can be applied as class credits at LCCC and other colleges and technical schools around the state. This let’s students get college courses under their belts (for free) before graduation. That helps accelerate the college years and gets them to work faster. And Lorain County stands to benefit.