According to the school in Concord Township, most striking is a new logo, a red letter A with an exclamation point embedded within it, representing excitement, opportunities and a new attitude about career and technical education and its role in workforce development.
Auburn offers both high school and adult workforce education programs and provides students, also known as strivers, with hands-on training, industry certifications and college credit to prepare them for the workplace or secondary education.
Incoming students for high school programs is currently over 90 percent capacity, Auburn’s highest enrollment since the school opened in 1965.
“Enrollment is also up 11 percent from last year and over 20 from two years ago,” said Superintendent Brian Bontempo. “This (year) is the largest class in school history. “We just added a criminal justice program that filled up immediately. And that’s one of many programs offering college credits and a pathway to, in many cases, to the next step. We’ve worked really hard to get this message out. Meeting the workforce needs in our region is important, and we’re always looking to how we can modify, update and improve our programs to make sure we’re meeting those needs.
“This is a general rebranding,” he said. “We want to make sure our families and communities are aware of Auburn. It creates the opportunity for us to share our story. It’s been a year-long process. Community input has brought us different stakeholders, too.”
Auburn offers 23 high school programs in addition to the new criminal justice program, which drew over 70 applicants for only 20 available seats.
In the new program, students will learn forensics, investigations, homeland security, and basic policing procedures and protocols, working closely with local law enforcement agencies.
Students can achieve a private security certification at the completion of the program. The program also features a shooting simulator with 1,000 live scenarios.
The Auburn Room Restaurant, the student-run restaurant in the final stages of renovation, is also new this year, and will debut in the fall, the school confirmed. The restaurant will be open to the public, have take-out options and can be rented out for events during the day based on school schedule.
In addition to the new changes, Auburn has established a foundation to accept monetary donations to support students through scholarships and other services related to education.
The Edward A. and Catherine L. Lozick Foundation is the first donor and gifted $90,000 over three years for Auburn high school and adult workforce education students in manufacturing.
“We have to maintain strong business relationships — that’s part of our job,” Bontempo said. “We make sure we’re connected with our business community, and that we’re responding to them. Having those types of partners is really important to us. It’s really an exciting time. Career and tech education is finally getting its due across the state Ohio and across the country.
“We used to hear that Auburn was the best-kept secret in town — we don’t want it to be a secret,” he added. “There is always a sense of urgency for us to make sure we’re doing this right. We have to look for other innovative ways to deliver programming to our community.”
Auburn’s Adult Workforce Education programs are currently enrolling for fall. Scholarships are available for the full course and also individual modules of the manufacturing program which begins in October.
The career center is located at 8140 Auburn Road.