February 12, 2022
An Adult Education Welding Technology student has become the first to complete a new
program, offered at Buckeye Career Center, which provides adult students with the
opportunity to earn a high school diploma and industry-recognized credential. 21-year-old
Alex Contrael, of Dover, completed the endeavor in 10 weeks as part of the Adult Diploma
Program or ADP. “The program is different from a traditional high school setting because
the delivery of instruction is primarily skilled hours to earn an industry-recognized
credential in an in-demand career,” stated BCC Adult Education Director Frank Polen.
“Once a student demonstrates mastery of a skill and earns that credential, he or she is then
prepared for a career in an in-demand field.”
Contrael chose the abbreviated Welding Technology course and AWS certifications as a way to
achieve his diploma after not graduating high school. He also earned his OSHA 10 certificate.
“I’m really proud of myself. I usually don’t go out of my way to do stuff like that, so the fact that I
did, made me feel really proud,” Contrael said. “I wanted a diploma. I wanted to go all the way and
I did.” He is hopeful that his achievement will lead to employment. “I would apply and get
rejected (because of the lack of diploma) and someone else with the credentials would get picked
over me,” he said. “I hope to get a welding job and get on with my life, finally,” said Contrael.
Assistant Adult Education Director Steve Rippeth commends Contrael. “It took a great deal of
courage, dedication, and effort to go back and finish what he had started in high school; even
more so to stay focused during this season of uncertainty in which we currently live,” said
Rippeth. Polen agrees and believes Contrael’s success is just the beginning of a program that will
provide educational opportunities for adults wanting to earn their high school diploma while
gaining skilled-workforce training. “Education is not a race, and sometimes as we stop and look
around, daily life sometimes has a way of detouring our original goals and plans. I applaud the
Ohio Department of Education, as well as the Ohio Department of Higher Education, for
continuing to recognize this and support such programs that can truly be life-changing,” he said.
BCC currently has 22 students enrolled in ADP.
Contrael received his diploma in January and will walk at the BCC Adult Education graduation in May. To enter the program, students must pass a WorkKeys test and be at least 20-years-old. Issuance of a diploma is contingent upon passing all course requirements and assessments and earning an industry-recognized credential at a stateapproved educational institution. ADP programs at BCC include Phlebotomy, Nail Technician, EMT, and the shortterm Welding course.
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