New opportunities coming for Capital Area students

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By Ashley Jayne
Ingham County Chronicle


Four programs are being added at the Capital Area Career Center for the 2015-2016 school year. These are cyber security and digital forensics, aviation, bioscience, and the Insurance Leadership Academy.  The programs offer students the opportunity to earn college and high school credit, as well as specific career certifications over the course of a year.

Students in the entertainment technology program work together to fix the wireless microphone system, among other pieces of equipment in the Haslett High School auditorium.

Students in the entertainment technology program work together to fix the wireless microphone system, among other pieces of equipment in the Haslett High School auditorium.

According to Ingham Intermediate School District Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Cindy Anderson, programs at the Career Center are under constant review and change in order to align with labor market demands.


Micki O’Neil, director of public relations and communication for the Career Center, said “These programs were chosen because these are growing fields with high skill, high wage and high demand positions.”


Aviation Academy

In the aviation program, students will have the opportunity to obtain a private pilot’s license and gain exposure to other careers in aviation. For flight lessons, the Capital Area Career Center has partnered with Crosswinds Aviation in Howell. According to Crosswinds owner Andrea Dahline, students that complete their private pilot license in this program will have an advantage in college aviation programs.


“It would save them between $4,000 and $7,000 for the private license, and get them about one semester to one year ahead in earning their flight ratings,” said Dahline.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in aviation could increase by 8 to 14 percent in demand between 2012 and 2022.


Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics

In the cyber security and digital forensics program, students will learn basic computer security and security awareness, as well as implementing countermeasures and methods of deception. This program is made possible by partnerships with Davenport University, Baker College, and Ferris State University. Morris Fulcher, associate dean of computer information systems at Baker College in Owosso said that in the Career Center program students will learn about the computer equipment involved in cyber defense.


“Before you can get into cyber defense, you must know the equipment and its faults or vulnerabilities,” said Fulcher. “Cyber defense employees must know strengths and weaknesses of a system in order to close the weaknesses or gaps in defense.”


Demand in cyber security careers is expected to increase by 37 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Bioscience Careers

The bioscience program will allow students to explore a variety of careers including zoology, microbiology, agronomy, and veterinary science. Students will gain hands-on experience in class as well as a wide range of options in career certifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted an increase in demand for the field overall, but numbers differ for each career area within it.

Career demand is expected to grow in various bioscience career fields.

Career demand is expected to grow in various bioscience career fields.


Insurance Leadership Academy

Students in the Insurance Leadership academy will gain experience with professionals by spending two days a week at Accident Fund Insurance, as well as learn about the insurance field by spending three days a week in class. Students can earn nine college credits through Olivet College and Ferris State University. In addition, students will have the opportunity to obtain an A.I.N.S. designation.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of insurance professionals are age 55 or older, which means that demand will soon be very high.


While these programs are beginning at the Career Center, other programs will be cut. According to Anderson, this is mainly due to low enrollment.


One program that will be closed at the end of the school year is Students in Entertainment Technology. The program takes place in the Haslett High School auditorium and was established in 2005. Students in the program learn how to work with sound and light equipment as well as projection equipment, stage set building and curtain running. According to the program instructor Patrick Hepfer, students gain a wide variety of experience in his class.


“The students won’t master anything from their time in here, but they will gain valuable experience with everything,” said Hepfer.


Anderson said that, in addition to low enrollment, concerns with the program, include the lack of transportation for students, and it is a two-year program that has only one year of curriculum written.


As the program will no longer be available, juniors will have to enroll in a different program for the 2015 to 2016 school year if they wish to continue their education with the Career Center. Junior Julian Reddick said he would have returned to the entertainment technology program, but now plans to enroll in the construction program.
“I had a lot of experience with construction this year, so I feel like I have enough experience to go to that program next year,” said Reddick.

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