At last! “Hard Hat” Signing Day for HS leavers

Image: Seniors don hardhats after signing letters of employment with a local Virginia business. (Photo: Henrico County Public Schools/Facebook)

Is this a sign that the pendulum is swinging back to recognizing society’s need for people who can do, not just think? Mike Rowe has been trumpeting the value of industry training for years, and with college fees escalating out of the range of regular (sensible) folk more and more young people are turning to on the job training supplemented with local vocational opportunities. Let’s face it, the ROI (return on investment) of a college degree is slender and often non-existent for students who received no financial aid and opted for a un-marketable degree. These students will learn real-world skills that are transportable and life-long.

“In recent years, it’s become a common sight: heralded high school athletes gather in gyms to sign letters-of-intent to play for NCAA athletic programs, as their classmates cheer and members of the media look on.

Henrico Schools’ Career and Technical Education program decided that athletes weren’t the only ones who deserved to have their hard work recognized as they look to the future. The program held its first ever “Career and Technical Letter-of-Intent Signing Day” March 28. Congratulations to students, families and employers!

“This is a celebration of students who are entering the workforce or post-secondary training with a plan,” said Mac Beaton, director of Henrico Schools’ Department of Career and Technical Education. “They’ve chosen to maximize their high school opportunities for career training and industry certifications, with an eye on becoming successful and financially secure much earlier in life.

“Signing Day is a way of recognizing their hard work and the value of the career-preparation training they’ve received through Henrico Schools’ Career and Technical Education program.”

Students and representatives of their future employers both signed letters-of-intent outlining what students must do before and during employment, what the employer will provide in pay and training, and an estimate of the position’s value.

Similar to National Signing Day for athletes, families and members of the media watched students sign letters-of-intent for employment. The students put on hats and other forms of promotional clothing representing the companies, Henrico County Public Schools and the school division’s Career and Technical Education program.”

More than 5,000 students earn industry-based certifications in Henrico County each year, and that often means a job immediately upon graduation. For this first event, a dozen students were recognized as they signed letters of intent to work as apprentices or machinists for local and national companies.

From Henrico County, VA. Public Schools Facebook page.