Career Technical Education Expands at Market on Main

OHS students bake biscuits

OHS students make biscuits in a Foods class at OHS. Advanced Foods courses will move to Market on Main for the 2021-22 school year.

A group of 13 district administrators, teachers, and community members presented information to the Ottumwa Board of Education Monday night regarding the recent purchase of Market on Main and the potential impact to the district's Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. CTE programs target students who aspire to get a head start on their college career or are looking for career training. 

"We are excited to present ideas on Market on Main, how it will benefit all students as well as become a community asset," said Jeff Kirby, Director of Innovative Programs. "It has been a collaborative effort."

The facility will feature CTE programs throughout the day and then a variety of other opportunities for students, families, and community members during non-instructional times, including after school programming, school events, summer camps, Lunch & Learns, adult education classes, etc.

Seven education strands will be incorporated into the high school's CTE offerings, including engineering, business, hospitality, computer science, health sciences, welding (located at OHS), and construction (OHS/project site). Teachers in each strand were on hand to share updates on courses and how students can also earn college credits simultaneously. "The college really believes strongly in the work that is happening in our community between the school district and Indian Hills Community College," said Matt Thompson, IHCC president. "We have so many students that benefit from education beyond their secondary days, why not start that while they are in high school."

The goal of this expansion is to provide all OHS graduates with a career or college-focused action plan, based on their skills, interests, and life goals. All students will benefit from the CTE expansion, with a stronger emphasis on four year planning and self-discovery. 

"The most difficult thing is to make that connection between industry and the school system," said Amber Pargmann, Engineering Manager at John Deere Ottumwa Works. "Ottumwa has leaped over that obstacle and hit the ground running."

The district has held several planning meetings with the architect, the Executive Advisory committee members, and CTE teachers. Drafts of the project will be completed in the next six to eight weeks, according to Kirby. The board will be presented the new OHS Program of Studies in late February and students will learn about new and existing programs beginning in March. 

"I want this to be the standard for new education in Iowa," said Kevin Cochran, OHS business teacher. "It should be exciting for our community and I'm excited for the vison for OCSD going forward."

market on main interior

Current interior of the Market on Main building.