Tallahassee, FL -- June 7, 2012 --
Donning their blue caps and gowns, more than 90 Lively Technical Center Students filled Godby High School's Auditorium.
The 90 graduates represent only a fraction of their class of about 250 students. While the rest chose not to walk, they are all a part of history.
This is the largest graduating class the 75-year-old technical school has ever seen. It's part of what's becoming a growing, national trend.
"Any time you have a bad economic situation, technical schools like ours, and colleges and universities, enrollment increases because there are no jobs to be had," says Woody Hildebrandt, Lively Technical Center principal.
Vocational schools differ from traditional colleges and universities.They train students in just job-specific skills.
The U.S. Department of Labor says just under 4 million people are enrolled in vocational schools across the county. It's a trend Lively has benefited from as its enrollment has grown nearly fivefold in just six years.
"What this school has done is it has put people back to work. A perfect example of that is our welding program. We had over 80 students in that program, 45 of those have left this semester because they have gained certification and got great jobs around the country," says Hildebrandt.
Hildenbrandt says about 60 percent of Lively Tech's graduates land a job immediately. After six months, that number jumps to about 75 percent.
"I've already started a job during the course of my class," says Lively Technical Center graduate, Aaron Story.
"I actually got a job. I work at 1940 in the BPR Building at Zena's Cafe," says Stacey Johnson, a Lively Technical Center graduate.
Success stories that give hope in this struggling economy.
It typically takes at student at lively tech anywhere from a year two years to earn their certificate, depending on what field they choose.