Approximately 300 business advisors and staff attended the 2010 Warren County Career Center Business Advisory Kickoff recently. Each high school and adult program has an advisory committee of representatives from business and industry who assist instructors and coordinators with keeping certifications, curriculum and equipment current to industry standards. Business advisors also offer internship and mentoring opportunities for students and employment for some when they complete their programs. WCCC programs offer industry certifications and college credit; ensuring students are well prepared for the job market and for further education.
Included in the evening was the annual induction into the Warren County Career Center Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame.
Sherri Lewis, a Court Services Officer/Investigator for the Warren County Probate and Juvenile Court, completed the Legal/Medical Office program at the Career Center in 1982 and graduated from Lebanon High School. She has worked for Judge Mike Powell, who nominated her for this award, for the past 13 years, first in his private law practice and currently at the court.
Judge Powell said in his nomination letter that she “exhibits a superior working knowledge of the law that proved to be an asset” to him in his practice. Her organizational skills have benefited the community, also. She organized a horse show in 2008 that sent residents of the Mary Haven Youth Center to the River of Hope Ranch in Waynesville for equine therapy. In June of 2010, she helped organize a combined meeting of the Ohio Associations of Probate, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judges, held here in Warren County. Her community accomplishments include 4-H advisor and President of the Ohio Valley Arabian Horse Association.
“If Sherri Lewis is an example of the quality of graduate of the WCCC then it is doing a fine job, indeed,” Judge Powell said in his letter of nomination.
Beth Wientge Lewis, owner of B’Lewie Salon and Spa in Lebanon, completed the WCCC Cosmetology program in 1977 and graduated from Lebanon High School. Ms. Lewis has employed many WCCC Cosmetology graduates over the years, and also provides internship opportunities for the students while they are still in school, in both the high school and adult education programs.
Ms. Lewis and the staff at the salon do many community service projects, including work for the Warren County Abuse and Rape Crisis Shelter, feeding the homeless in the local shelter, and a Christmas event held each year with all profits going to a local charity for children. The salon also holds a career day where they do make-overs on children. When foster children are released out on their own, the salon gives them make-overs to help them get jobs.
She has served for many years on the WCCC Cosmetology Business Advisory Committee. She was honored as WCCC’s Employer of the Month in December 2009. Adult Education Cosmetology Instructor Tammie Havenar said in her nomination letter that she has been a guest speaker in the classroom many times, and is “a great inspiration to all” of the students she works with in both the adult and high school programs.
The evening also featured two student speakers. Emily Combs, a senior in the high school Cosmetology program, is the National Vice President for SkillsUSA, the largest Career-Technical student leadership organization in the U.S. Emily thanked the business advisors for their dedication to assisting in ensuring a relevant and beneficial education for all the WCCC students, including her own. She talked about how the staff at the Career Center had helped her mature and move beyond a childhood full of challenges into an adulthood full of promise.
Judy Nichols just completed the Adult Education Firefighter I certification class. She has been working with an emergency services unit volunteer group in Loveland-Symmes Township, and already held her volunteer firefighter certification. Ms. Nichols, who at age 59 has made a career change from selling Real Estate for the past 30 years to becoming a firefighter, said the WCCC Firefighter I Transition program was perfect for her, since it bridged her volunteer firefighter certification into the Level I exam material. She said the instructors at WCCC were great and they made her feel comfortable about being in the class at her age and stage in life. Ms. Nichols said she is following in her son’s footsteps as a firefighter.
“I was very impressed with Judy as a student,” Coordinator Gary Reed said later. “She didn’t slack off; she jumped right in with all the younger students and many times outdid them.”
The WCCC Culinary Tech Prep students prepared and served the meal for the event, and Graphic Arts Tech Prep students designed and printed the placemats. WCCC Student Ambassadors assisted with greeting and seating the guests.