CVCC receives $9 million grant; students expect bright future

by Dan Holland

Expansion plans

Plans to expand the cluster of construction programs at Cuyahoga Valley Career Center are currently in the works. In November, the school received a $9.05 million Career and Technical Education Construction Grant from the state of Ohio, which will be used to build additional lab space to accommodate a growing demand for its electrical and HVAC programs. The Building and Property Maintenance and Mechanical Design programs will also get renovated lab space.

The school currently has space for 88 training seats for first-year students enrolled in its construction cluster, with the school receiving 168 applications for the program during the current school year, according to Superintendent David Mangas. He expects the additions and renovations will accommodate the increased demand, he said.

The construction trades program, along with other career offerings, provide hands-on training for students, said Mangas. “We give students the skills to get entry-level jobs right out of high school, but if it’s their choice and they want to pursue post-secondary education, they can do that as well.”

The CVCC Board of Education passed a resolution in December to create a new program for Parks and Environmental Resources, which will include hands-on instruction in heavy equipment operation, soil and water conservation, forestry and parks management.

All of the new programs are expected to be in place for the 2025-26 school year, according to Mangas.

CVCC partners with eight area school districts, including the Revere Local School District.

“Revere is super excited about this project,” said Superintendent Michael Tefs. “CVCC is to be applauded for securing the funds and working to remain relevant; we continue to be impressed with CVCC’s leadership and vision. They are an amazing asset for this region as they consistently evaluate the market and modify programming to meet workforce development needs.”

Local graduates working toward bright futures

The future looks bright for a number of graduates of the CVCC construction trades programs.

“During my sophomore year at Revere, I didn’t know what career to follow, so I took a shot at signing up for the construction trades class at CVCC, and I really loved it,” explained 2023 graduate Joshua Flynn. “The teacher was great: he went over every aspect of the trades – electrical, plumbing, framing, masonry – everything I wanted to learn.”

Flynn is currently enrolled in a construction management program at Kent State University. He wants to become a project manager or project engineer following graduation.

“After college, I want to go straight to work and be a manager or intern for a manager and become a manager or engineer, and also do some side jobs in plumbing,” said Flynn. “I love all the trades – electric or whatever; I want to learn everything.”

Flynn said he highly recommends the construction trades program at CVCC for current high school students. “It gives you a huge step ahead from everyone else as opposed to taking standard high school courses,” he said. “Those years at CVCC really boosted me and made me look good on resumes – I’m getting job offers already.”

Haley McEwen, who grew up in Richfield and currently lives in Doylestown, is a 2021 graduate of CVCC’s Electrical Trades program. She decided in high school that she wanted to pursue a hands-on career.

“Looking back at the class and working in the field, our instructor taught us how it would be in the working world; what our everyday tasks would be like,” said McEwen.

McEwen is currently enrolled in a five-year journeyman program with Akron Area Electrical JATC. She is doing electrical work with J.W. Didato Electric at the Sherwin-Williams Global Headquarters currently under construction in downtown Cleveland.

“I like learning all the different aspects and new things that I learn every day on the job,” said McEwen.  “It’s fun working and learning at the same time. It’s definitely something different from what a lot of people are used to.”

“After I’m done with my five-year program becoming a journeyman, I’ll hopefully be running jobs and be a big part of projects as a foreman or supervisor,” she said. “I would love to be able to mentor apprentices just like others have mentored me in learning new skills.” ∞

Joshua Flynn (in white helmet), a 2023 graduate of Revere and the construction trades program at CVCC, is getting training in framing at CVCC.  Photo submitted.