The Belmont-Harrison Vocational School District celebrated its "golden anniversary" during the 2020-21 school year! For more than 50 years, the Belmont and Harrison Career Centers have been providing education, success stories and great memories for many students who have passed through our doors since 1971.
The district has served the educational needs of high school students in Belmont and Harrison counties, as well as, providing employees for business and industry for over 50 years.
Communities started hearing whispers of vocational education classes in the 1960's. High unemployment during much of the 1960's and 70's brought further government support for vocational education. The Vocational Education Act of 1963 provided money for new school buildings, classes and teacher training. John Shannon, superintendent of Belmont County schools, began a feasibility study on the need for vocational and technical education in the Ohio Valley. By 1966, a plan for the district was completed and approved by the state.
In late 1966, Belmont County Commissioners made the present site along I-70 and St.Rt. 331 available in St. Clairsville. In 1967, voters approved a bond and tax levy to generate revenue for the project. A year later, federal funds were obtained through the Vocational Education Act of 1963. By July of 1969, construction was ready to begin. Students began entering the "JVS" on August 31, 1971.
In 1972, the school board approved the opening of a satellite building in Harrison County and classes started in August of 1974 in Cadiz. By 1980, the buildings were renamed the Belmont Career Center and the Harrison Career Center.
Needless to say, the world and southeast Ohio looked much different 50 years ago. Today our communities, our state, our country and the world have changed dramatically. We have evolved from vocational education to career-technical education. The place we called "work," the locations of "work." the types of "work," and the tools of "work" have and are changing at a rapid pace. There is no better example of this change than what we went through during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The major goal of the district has not changed over the years. We want students to develop marketable skills for securing an entry-level job upon graduation. After attending the career centers, we encourage students to seek employment in their career field or explore post-secondary options. Most employers expect certain levels of applied technical competencies from their workers, and that is why vocational education was developed. That is why the BHVSD was created.