NEW HAVEN, Ind. (WANE) — There’s a new program at the East Allen County Schools Career Center this year geared toward preparing students of today to become the educators of tomorrow.

The East Allen Career Center now provides an education program.

Executive Director of the Career Center Tim Wiegand told WANE 15 that adding the program was a “no brainer.”

Wiegand said he and superintendent Marilyn Hissong saw the number of college graduates from education programs decreasing. With the current teacher shortage, they thought it made sense to try and create a pipeline of new educators in northeast Indiana.

“Without young people deciding to go into the education field, we’re going to lose that, and so we at East Allen and all across the district, every school around here, we’re excited about education, and we want to tell kids that it’s a great profession,” Wiegand said.

Current juniors and seniors from the district’s high schools signed up for the inaugural year of the program last year. They spend half a day at the Career Center and half a day at their home high school.

It’s a dual credit program which allows them to earn up to 12 college credits.

Students will receive a wide exposure to the education program, according to Wiegand. They’ll receive field experience, learn about writing lesson plans, and become up to speed with the latest technology available for teachers.

One student who signed up is Hannah Ashby, a senior at New Haven High School.

Ashby, who hopes to one day teach high school English, said she believes education is important and she wants to help future generations learn and grow.

“This is a really important program and so to be able to learn it before I go into college for it was something that was really excited, and I’m glad a lot of other people in the class feel the same way,” Ashby said.

18 students are in the program this year.