On Tuesday, Dec. 7, from noon to 9 p.m., voters in the Utica City School District have an exciting opportunity to vote yes, and begin to bring trades and technical education back to Proctor High School.
This is a win-win for the district, as the plan smartly uses federal ARPA money as well as state aid to complete this with no tax increase for the taxpayer.
Long before I was an Oneida County Legislator or Utica Mayor, I was a high school student at Utica Free Academy. Entering that school in 1978 as an undersized freshman, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I had a friend who was in the wood shop class and he seemed excited by it, so due to it being in the building, I was able to quickly amend my schedule and I started that class as well.
Thus began my 3-year journey in wood crafting which instilled in me confidence in my abilities, my self-esteem as well as a skill set that I use daily. In my 4th year, I availed myself of the drafting class, which is also still a useful skill.
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Due to these programs being in the school building, I was able to also take other classes including AP and Regents level courses, which had I needed to go offsite, could not have happened.
As we all know, not every student is destined for college. Many are destined to fix your car, cut your hair, remodel your kitchen, or wire your house to name some of the skills that will be learned here.
We need to help change the perception that college is a necessity. As we see now, tradespeople get harder to come by. The skills honed at Proctors CTE program can earn someone a handsome living, will be easily within reach and will come with no large student loans.
Utica is certainly on an uptick, with exciting things happening that will benefit us all. The next phases are in the works and drawing from local tradespeople will create a greater boom.
Let’s not forget, Utica was built upon the trades and skillsets of a large migrant population settling in our area, not once but twice. Let’s give our next generations the opportunity to make Utica a place they want to stay, live and thrive.
Let’s vote yes on Tuesday, Dec. 7th for the Utica City School District CTE plan.
Timothy Julian of Utica was the Mayor of Utica from 2000-2008 and is currently the Oneida County Legislator from District 19.