Event | December 20, 2019

Butler Tech students personify the impact of deeper learning

Deeper learning helps students at Butler Tech attain experiential and hands on skills preparing them for the workforce.

On December 13, ReadyNation member Chris Burns, a marketing executive with Encore Technologies, toured the mechatronics lab at Butler Tech Career Center, where he saw first-hand how business is working with local schools to help train up students with the cognitive and collaborative skills needed in the modern workforce. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary approach to engineering technology combining both electrical and mechanical systems education. As such, it leads to the acquisition of skills needed in robotics as well as computer, electronics, production, systems control, and telecommunications engineering.

At Butler Tech, with a tour from Mechatronics instructor Dave Campbell and demonstrations from eager students, Burns observed how innovative learning models are one critical solution to this challenge, and represent a worthwhile investment. Building some of these skills as early as high school helps prepare students to succeed in our economy, and gives them the motivation and vision to see themselves in these positions. Innovative career-technical education (CTE) programs provide students with both the hard technical skills and soft deeper learning skills that our businesses need to grow and thrive in the 21st century.

In just five short years, 60 percent of Americans will need a high-quality postsecondary credential to meet the demands of available jobs—and, in Ohio, the goal is 65 percent. A recent ReadyNation report cites state data showing that just under 45 percent of Ohio adults have attained this goal. Furthermore, the skills employers most seek are deeper learning skills, which include communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.

“Here at Butler Tech they actually solved that challenge. Many of the faculty come from the workforce, so they understand how to apply what’s being taught in the classroom. The IT programs and others are experiential and hands-on, so students actually build robots, and work with real companies to solve problems. This gives them the skills they need to work in a fast-growing industry like ours,” said Burns.

“The jobs of the future will require more technical training but also more skills in the three C’s: communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, what we in the industry call ‘Deeper Learning,’” he added. “To cultivate that skilled workforce of the future, we have to look at training differently.

The jobs of the future will require more technical training but also more skills in the three C’s: communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, what we in the industry call ‘Deeper Learning,’

Chris Burns, Marketing & Education Manager, Encore Technologies

One of the most telling statistics is the gap between what Ohio high school grads make vs. those with postsecondary credentials: between $5,000-$20,000 a year. Over the course of a 30-year career, that deficit amounts to $150,000-$600,000, even for those with limited training after high school. Another important point is that the unemployment rate in Ohio is less than three percent for adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher experience. Those with only a high school diploma are unemployed at more than double that rate, at over eight percent.

It is apparent that, in order to meet Ohio’s educational attainment goals, we must make high-quality postsecondary options accessible to a much larger portion of our population.

But, to accomplish this, we have to begin with young students and help them identify the options that are available and the salaries that come with those options. Regardless of where the schools are located, the vast majority of students in grade school today are unaware of the wide array of jobs and opportunities that come with each industry.

Promising models such as those at Butler Tech can provide Ohio high school students with both an understanding of the skills they will need in a particular occupation and help them make more informed decisions regarding post-secondary education and training. Whether they go directly into the workforce or pursue advanced education, these students will ultimately enter the workforce much more prepared to succeed. This type of training reduces the time and cost of on-the-job training and many times the cost of their own education.

About Butler Tech

Butler Tech is one of the largest career technical schools in Ohio. Its passionate educators are on a shared mission of transforming lives to make our students career-ready and college-prepared. Our teachers serve more than 17,000 students daily on Butler Tech’s five campuses and in classrooms within our 11 associate school districts. Butler Tech also serves adult students with programs in healthcare, industry, public safety, commercial trucking, drone piloting, high school diploma programs, and English as a Second Language. For more information, visit ButlerTech.org.

  • A student uses VR technology
  • Male student and teachers at Butler Tech
  • Student and teachers at Butler Tech
  • Students look at sketchpad
  • Students and teachers listen to a presentation.
  • Students use a sketchpad to learn.

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