Ashland High School
Tech Prep Horticulture

[Tech Prep Logo]

"Look To The Future:
Tech Prep For Horticulture Technologies

By Betty Aylsworth

Originally published in:
The Buckeye, June 1996
The Official Publication of
the Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association

Tech Prep is an exciting new educational program that combines the best things about college prep classes and vocational education. The competency-based curriculum is designed to guide a student in a high school horticulture program with an emphasis on academics through a post-secondary more specialized technical program at Ohio State University's Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster.

The Tech Prep program for horticulture increases student competence in math, science, and communications, and gives them the horticultural skills, knowledge, and experience to enter and complete an Associate's Degree Program. Academic, occupational, and employability competencies are required at both the secondary and higher education levels, enabling a student to enter employment at both the completion of the 12th grade and the end of the Associate's Degree. At the completion of the Associate's Degree, if they so choose, they can continue their education at a four-year college.

Parents want to see their children prepare for a career in which jobs exist. Tech Prep performed a labor market survey of horticultural businesses in Ohio which indicated that an abundance of jobs exist which require the skills and knowledge attained in an Associate's Degree Program. From this labor market survey, a cluster of careers were determined to be the focus of Tech Prep for Horticulture Technologies. The cluster includes: tree maintenance technician, lawn care superintendent, landscape designer/manager, golf course superintendent, greenhouse technician, nursery technician, and floral design/manager.

The curriculum was designed by individuals from the horticulture industry. They identified the competencies for each occupation as well as indicated which competencies in the academic areas could be taught in relation to horticulture. Teachers from five Vocational Education Planning Districts and faculty members at Ohio State ATI met to determine at which level in school these competencies should be taught. The educators and industry representatives met to discuss and approve this curriculum before it was implemented.

Tech Prep takes a special interest in making students and educators from the middle school and high school aware of careers in horticulture. It is important for students to have exposure to these careers as they prepare their Individual Career Plans (ICP) which is prepared by each 8th grader in Ohio. Businesses have been willing to hire the educators on an "externship" so the teachers can better relate to students about a career in this field.

The horticulture industry has been very involved in Tech Prep activities. It is the hope of many employers to hire students who have the competencies which are required of this program.

At the present time, we have eight high schools in coordination with Ohio State ATI who are in the process of implementing Tech Prep for Horticulture Technologies. Depending on future Tech Prep funding, our goal is to implement Tech Prep in every horticulture program in Ohio. This program can have a major impact on the horticulture industry's need for qualified employees.

The Ashland High School Horticulture Technologies program is part of the Central Region Tech Prep Consortium.

Tom Kluding, Director,
North Central College Tech Prep Consortium
2441 Kenwood Circle, P.O. Box 698
Mansfield, OH 44901-0698
Fax: 419-755-4731

OSU - Agriculture Technical Institute

Central College Tech Prep Consortium

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