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In the late 1960s and early 1970s, there was growing concern too many young people were not prepared to enter the labor market. Ohio responded by creating vocational school districts, which ensured that young people would have a broad range of career options.

By 1970, 22 school districts joined together to form the Hamilton County Joint Vocational School District.

Initially, there were to be two campuses, one on the east side and one on the west, but in 1971 all that changed when Great Oaks acquired the old Army depot in Sharonville. Additionally, 13 more school districts joined the vocational school district. In 1972, the school changed its name to Great Oaks and added a fourth campus with the addition of the Clinton County Air Force Base.