Career & Technology Centers (CTCs) emerged as one of two big themes at our first Future Ready Partnerships Conferences this spring, sharing the spotlight with the main event, school-business partnerships. A second Conference is slated for April.
The focus on Career & Technology Centers came during a panel discussion as well as in the questions and answers that followed; some 20 different breakout sessions focused on school-business partnerships. We captured all segments of the agenda in photos.
Participants in the CTC panel said their programs fit into a partnerships conference in light of new graduation pathways articulated in Act 158, which enables students to graduate without passing the Keystone exams so long as they amass evidence of readiness, some of which CTCs can help them achieve.
“People really care about us now,” said Neil Henehan, Director of Mon Valley CTC. “Everything we do has been validated; Act 158 has given us teeth.”
Henehan was one of three panelists, along with Parkway West CTC‘s Executive Director Darby Copeland, Ed.D., and Mike Milanovich, Executive Director of Western Area CTC. James Denova, an Intermediate Unit 1 consultant and former Vice President and Program Director for the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, led their discussion.
Responding to questions of a sub-standard stigma their schools may still carry, panelists generally agreed that various trends are coming together to eliminate it, including employer demand for their graduates, high wages for many career paths CTC’s offer, and the unaffordability of college.
“It’s a very exciting time to be a CTC,” Copeland said, adding that CTC graduates are, in many cases, fielding multiple job offers and out-earning peers with degrees.
Some attendees agreed, saying their districts are seeing increasing demand for CTC placement.
A keynote conversation between Mascaro Construction Co. President & CEO John Mascaro Jr. and Community College of Beaver County President Roger Davis, Ed.D., underscored many of the same points and raised the curtain for school-business partnership breakout sessions with their focus on the Mascaro Construction Academy they launched to help high school students learn about opportunities in an industry facing workforce shortages.
“We build buildings, but we want to build people too,” Mascaro said.
CCBC and Mascaro Construction staff also were on-hand to offer breakout sessions focused on careers in construction and to talk about the High School Academies CCBC launched in 2015.
Their presentations were among nearly 20 breakout sessions, all aimed at helping educators and business representatives discover ways they might partner and help students become future ready. The sessions ranged from one featuring Peters Township School District students presenting their own learning outcomes from a partnership with Coffee Tree Roasters to PNC Bank’s PartnerUp program, which takes pre-employment training directly into high schools.