A new online technical school is the first of its kind, as it is the result of collaboration between a technical college, an online education provider, and a trade union.
The Destinations Career Academy of Wisconsin was brought about through a partnership with Fox Valley Technical College, the Operating Engineers union, and online education provider K12 Inc. The intent is to meet the need to provide young people with accessible training in trades.
“We had a serious problem in the construction trade industry that wasn’t being helped at the high school level,” said Terrance McGowan, general president/business manager of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 139, a statewide skilled trade union. “A lot of high schools no longer have shop class, they don’t have automotive, wood working, welding, there are still a lot of young people who want to work with their hands, but there’s no way to be introduced to it.”
McGowan decided to address the need by reaching out to the administration of Fox Valley, and then approached the Wisconsin Virtual Academy about putting the instruction online. The purpose is to encourage students to consider careers operating heavy equipment, and construction.