When Rob Howells isn’t leading the Wellington Dukes on the football field, he’s helping McCormick Middle School students prepare for life in the workforce.
The classes are part of a career pathway program rolled out this year at McCormick, where seventh-graders can take nine weeks of career connection and information technology courses while eighth-graders have the option to enroll in entrepreneurship and computer programming curriculum.
Howells teaches career connections and information technology.
“Information technology is kind of in the scope of computer programming but it’s not full-on coding,” he said. “It’s kind of the basics and the stuff you need before going into coding. Actual coding classes are going on too with (Roy) Moore, so there’s a lot going on in the building.”
Local entrepreneurs are being contacted by Howells to speak to his classes about their experiences.
“It is a reflection of society and the shift toward engineering and technology,” he said. “It’s great to see kids wanting to get into that and getting them valuable experience. I know in North Ridgeville, the school district I was at before here, started an entirely separate building for STEM initiatives.”
“We want business owners to come into class and talk about their experiences,” Howells said. “Whether they’re good or bad doesn’t matter. Either a positive or negative story can provide a valuable lesson for what someone can expect going into business for themselves. Maybe kids will be encouraged to go to college and get business degrees but I also talk about there being nothing wrong with going toward a trade instead.”
The time it takes to establish and run a business is what comes as most of a shock to students, Howells said.
“There’s all the time spent and how the taxes can double on you depending on the type of ownership that you have,” he said. “For my younger students, we’re going through the whole application process and college process to try and illustrate needed time in school. Whether it’s going into business or going to school, you have to be ready to live a certain lifestyle. I can’t count how many people I’ve met who wanted to be a pharmacist or psychiatrist but then question it when they find out how much schooling they need.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.