NEWARK – Worcester Technical High School celebrated students’ career intent with its first ever National Signing Day ceremony.
On Wednesday, teachers, community members and employers applauded as dozens of students declared their intent to enter the workforce.
“We couldn’t be more excited for the students in this room,” Principal Tom Zimmer said. “The students you will see come across this stage are students that have taken classes at Worcester Technical High School and used the knowledge gained to begin a career upon graduation.”
Just as schools host signing ceremonies for student athletes who have committed to certain colleges, Worcester Tech hosted this week’s signing ceremony to celebrate those who have made a similar commitment to the workforce.
“In recent years, the catch phrase in education has been ‘college and career ready,’” Zimmer said. “Are we graduating students that will be college and career ready? At Worcester Technical High School I can say that answer is a strong yes. We’re so proud of the young men and women in this room who have chosen a trade, set career goals and worked hard to acquire the skills necessary to join the workforce.”
Rick Stephens, Worcester Tech’s teacher of the year, introduced former student Colby Macomber, a 2011 graduate. Macomber now successfully operates his own company, Pirate Fabrication and Mobile Welding.
“Colby is a sample of what can happen,” Stephens said.
Wednesday’s ceremony recognized 40 students, all of whom have jobs lined up. Employers included various local salons, the Town of Ocean City, several plumbing companies and multiple auto repair shops.
Sen. Mary Beth Carozza presented a proclamation from Gov. Larry Hogan marking the occasion.
“This warms my heart to be back home at Worcester Technical High School and to see these students that are now going on, making commitments to employers,” Carozza said.
She said that for years, employers had been approaching her to talk about the area’s need for a skilled workforce.
“We need a pipeline of talent coming from our schools into these high tech and lucrative careers,” she said.
Carozza told the crowd that she’d just come from a visit to a construction site, where officials from Willow Construction had again voiced the importance of finding more skilled workers.
“As soon as I got on that site, the supervisor said ‘we need a pipeline,’” Carozza said. “’We have plenty of jobs and plenty of work.’”
Zimmer credited Tracy Lewis, Worcester Tech’s HVAC instructor, with suggesting the school participate in the 2019 National Signing Day. Lewis said the students had worked hard and deserved to be celebrated.
“These students, a lot of them aren’t used to getting this type of recognition,” Lewis said.