D228 students save over $300K in tuition through career readiness program

D228 students save over $300K in tuition through career readiness program
Posted on 06/27/2018
D228 students save over $300K in tuition through career readiness program

By: Cody Mroczka, Tinley Junction
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Bremen High School District 228 students took advantage of the district’s career readiness program, in 2018 saving an estimated $377,000 in future tuition costs by earning 2,601 college credits.

The district, which includes Tinley Park High School, offers a total of 17 college credit courses that range from culinary arts and digital literacy to forensics and accounting. Additionally, 2,234 industry certifications were achieved by students that included emergency medical services, early childhood education, financial literacy, safe food handling, software programs and manufacturing.

“The goal is to provide opportunities for real-world experience by exposing kids to different things,” said Renee Mack, director of the career readiness program. “We encourage our students to learn about the world around them and how to make educational and occupational choices for their future.”

Other career experiences in which students participated included job shadowing, listening to guest speakers in their interested career paths, and a career expo where district seniors could plan for what’s next and interview for various jobs. Mack said there has been more a push for pathways outside of higher education with the passing of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015. D228 students are introduced to the concept as underclassman and eventually crafted their personal interests through Career Cruising, a software program used by district career counselors to assist with curriculums.

“High school students are one step closer to the real world,” Mack said. “And the dual credit — that’s a head start on college credit. Free college courses — that’s a big thing.”

On June 19, the district’s Welding Works program delivered their highlights and accomplishments to the Board of Education. Since its inception in 2016, the District 228 Welding Works Program has had three students present at the National Metal Working Conference in Chicago. Students recently repaired roughly 100 desks for Tinley Park High School. Classes are taught in the evening and teach students how to safely work in a shop environment with others, weld, MIG weld, and use a blow torch and grinder. 

Additionally, Mack said this particular program would not be possible without the help of Boy Scouts of America’s Exploring Program, a program which helps students get involved in different career paths by helping schools set up the logistics, registration, and donations often needed to help programs take off.

“For the past two years we have been building and growing the welding program from scratch,” said Dan Brown, Industrial Technology teacher. “The shop now has five welding tables, one giant grinding torch and torch table, two large welding horses, and several working stations.”