Hart Career Center Celebrates 50 Years!

Hart Career Center Celebrates 50 Years!
Posted on 01/24/2018
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Hart Career Center Celebrates 50 Years of Building Bright Futures

The fall of 2018 will mark the 50th year Davis H. Hart Career Center, formerly Mexico Area Vocational-Technical School, has welcomed students from Mexico and the surrounding area. Although those 50 years have seen many changes in both the workplace and the educational system, I would argue the need for Career and Technical Education has never been greater than it is today. Efforts to create new jobs in the U.S. are given much attention in the media. In reality, there are thousands of good paying jobs already here and waiting for folks with the right skills. In keeping with our mission of “Building Bright Futures,” Hart Career Center is proud to offer a variety of opportunities for students to explore and prepare for such high-demand careers.

How did it all begin? The Mexico Board of Education first officially took up the discussion of building a new Vocational Education building in January of 1967. At the time, Mexico School District was offering a limited number of vocational classes at the High School. Vocational Director, Davis Hart, had the vision to see the need was much greater. Fortunately, legislative efforts in the late 1950s and early 1960s had made federal funds available to states for the purpose of creating area vocational schools. Hart, along with other administrators and a group of citizens led by Kirby Allen presented a plan to the board at that January meeting and a successful bond election was held in February. The total cost of the project was $911,520 with roughly half paid from federal funds. The building officially opened to students in September of 1968.

It is important to note this project was not solely the effort of the school district. The new Technical School received endorsements from many area businesses, civic groups and the Mexico Chamber of Commerce. Those leaders came together to invest in their future workforce.  For the past 50 years, Hart Career Center has existed to serve and prepare professionals in an ever changing variety of career paths.

So what does the future of Hart Career Center look like? While it is hard to predict what technological advances we will see in the next 50 years, we will remain committed to preparing young minds and hands for skilled careers. We must be flexible enough to adapt to the needs of a global economy, but we must also keep our finger on the pulse of local industry. Although many of our students will go on to further their education and to work beyond our borders, we want them to be fully aware of the opportunities to work and reinvest in our local communities.

For the past year, Hart Career Center has proudly participated in a growing coalition of local manufacturers. This group, with the guidance and encouragement of the Mexico Chamber of Commerce and other area leaders, is seeking new and innovative ways to build awareness and capacity in our local workforce. Just as it took a community to rally and fulfill the vision of Davis Hart, it will take the support of our business and industry partners to sustain that vision for the next 50 years.

Where do you fit in? Come visit us and see our programs in action. Whether you are a first time visitor or just haven’t been in the building in a while, we invite you to come by for a tour. We also have many opportunities for you to get involved and share your experience. Join a program advisory board, mentor a student through a class project, judge a contest, or simply share your story. With your help, we will continue our mission of Building Bright Futures!