The proposed county-wide Vocational Education Center which will be voted on by Washtenaw Intermedíate School District voters June 8 was discussed last night by the Ann Arbor Board of Education. No official stand on the one mill proposal has yet been taken by the school board, though School Supt. W. Scott -Westerman Jr. said the proposed center has the "unanimous and enthusiastic" support of his administrative staff. Trustee Richard M. Wood questioned whether there really is a need for such a facility, and said the taxpayers were told vocational training would be emphasized at Washtenaw Community College. Earl Shaffer, consultant for vocational education for the Intermedíate School District, said there is a definite need for vocational and technical training on the high school level. Schaffer told the board young people aged 14 to 24 account for only 18.3 per cent of the labor forcé, but 37.2 per cent of all the unemployed. Black Americans compose 11 per cent of the labor market but account for 21.3 per cent of the unemployed. In Washtenaw County approximately 20 per cent of all students who enter the ninth grade fail to complete high school, Shaffer said, and most of these have no saleable skills. The projected cost of the area vocational center is $500 per year, per student. "In 1965 we were spending $1,800 a year to keep a delinquent youth in a detention home, $2,500 a year for a family on relief, and $3,500 a year for a criminal in a state prison," Shaffer said. The proposed center, to be located on the Washtenaw Community College campus, is expected to serve 2,000 students when the program is in Ml operation. Any llth and 12th graders who wish could attend the center on' a half-day basis, tuition free. Between 20 and 25 vocational and technical subjects are expected to be taught. Trustee Cecil W. Warner said he thought the big advantage of the center would be that practical education would be stressed, not just academie theory. An identical one-mill proposal for a vocational center was defeated by the voters in December of 1968.
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