A northeast Indiana high school has landed a key designation from the state for its construction trades program. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has awarded a State Earn and Learn certification to Garrett High School in DeKalb County.

The certification comes from the DWD's Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship. SEAL programs, according to the DWD, are "structured, scalable programs...designed to meet the skills that employers demand, are geared toward both adult and youth populations, and satisfy Indiana's new graduation pathway requirements."

Eligible programs range from eight weeks to two years in length and include industry certifications tailored for any sector. Specifically for Garrett High School's construction trades program, students will not only have the opportunity to earn seven nationally-recognized industry credentials, but also earn more than 1,200 hours of on-the-job training and graduate with 22 transferable credits through Ivy Tech Community College.

"This SEAL adds more credibility to what we are trying to accomplish," Chad Sutton, director of career development at Garrett High School, said in a news release. "It tells our industry partners that we are serious about skill development for our students. We all realize the opportunities in industry regarding the lack of skilled labor. When a student can achieve hands-on skill development in an area they are interested in and integrate academics into that vocational experience you have just helped that student create passion."

The high school's program has been running for more than 40 years but now offers career development by offering the chance to earn National Center for Construction Education and Research credentials and college credit through Ivy Tech Fort Wayne. The DWD says Sutton has also used his construction background to establish partnerships with more than 40 local businesses which has created job shadowing, mentoring, internship and employment opportunities.

Garrett High School joins Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, which in June became the first Hoosier school to earn the SEAL certification for its construction trades program.

(Pictured left to right): Tonya Weaver, Superintendent of Garrett- Keyser-Butler Community School District; Chris Price, President, Indiana Construction Roundtable Foundation; Carrie Lively, Senior Director, Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship; Chad Sutton, Director of Career Development, Garrett High School; and Matt Presley, Regional Director, Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship.