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Cincinnati Public Schools looks at agricultural education as pathway to wide-open job market

Posted at 8:53 PM, Dec 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-12 21:00:32-05

CINCINNATI — Ohio State University leaders visited several Cincinnati Public Schools Thursday to see how well city kids stack up when it comes to agricultural education.

They found that CPS programs are setting kids up for success in a wide-open job market.

“Nationally, colleges like ours are graduating about 61 percent of the workforce needed,” said Kris Boone, director of Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute.

“These green industries are fantastic to work in and the opportunities are everywhere.”

That’s good news for Daneric Ford, a sophomore at Gamble Montessori High School, who is studying agriculture.

“I still have a lot to learn and I just feel like it’s going to be a really positive experience,” said Ford, the chapter president for Future Farmers of America.

“It’s a lot of outdoors experience. Not in the classroom. A lot of hands-on things.”

Ford and his classmates are building edible garden beds and planning out landscaping work around their new campus. Gamble Montessori moved into the former Mother of Mercy complex in Westwood this fall.

Ford’s teacher, Mary Dudley said urban students bring a different perspective to agricultural and environmental courses than those who grow up in rural areas.

“What can the urban student, the urban mind, bring to those programs? For me the possibilities are limitless,” Dudley said.

“How can they make a more sustainable environment? Because everything is so concentrated and so close in the city. Those are things that are on their mind.”

Boone says hands-on programs like this are crucial to preparing students for college and jobs after high school.

“To be able to learn some things and go apply it immediately. The lights come on,” Boone said.

The next big project for students in this program will be tapping trees in January for maple syrup.