The career and technical centers are changing to keep up with the times.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
CHAMPION -- A few years ago, joint vocational schools across the state changed their names to career and technical education centers to better reflect the programs offered.
Enrollment at the centers in Trumbull, Mahoning and Columbiana counties has remained mostly steady over the last few years, but Trumbull Career and Technical Center saw a bump in its number of students this year -- probably as a result of the closing of the Gordon D. James Career Center.
The center formerly housed juniors and seniors from Lordstown, Niles, Howland, Weathersfield and McDonald schools in career and technical education programs but closed at the end of last year. The member districts couldn't agree on a new contract.
Students from four of those districts attend TCTC. Howland sends most of its students to the Ashtabula County Joint Vocational School.
In fiscal year 2001, 65,838 Ohio students in their junior and senior years of high school were enrolled work-force development programs. Pat Huston, resource development consultant with the Ohio Department of Education's office of career, technical and adult education, said that before 2001, the information was calculated differently so data isn't available for comparison.
The types of programs offered at the career and technical education centers also have changed to keep up with the times.
"We offer a tech-prep program in conjunction with Kent State," said Wayne McClain, TCTC superintendent.
Traveling for classes
The tech-prep students attend their home schools for core subjects, but travel to various county locations for technology instruction. The students then continue with tech-prep education into college.
Other classes such as multimedia teach students about technology like graphic arts and computers to prepare them for careers in expanding fields.
Edna S. Anderson, superintendent of Columbiana County Career & amp; Technical Center, said that school also offers several tech-prep programs through the Kent State University campuses in East Liverpool and Salem.
Those programs include interactive media, information services and support, industrial manufacturing technician and turf management and landscaping.
"We started a brand-new health academy this year," Anderson said.
The center is working to earn national certifications for its programs. The additions also conform to the changing career fields.
"There's a need for people in the health fields," the superintendent said.
Roan Craig, superintendent of the Mahoning County Career & amp; Technical Center, attributed the constancy of enrollment to the condition of the area. Mahoning County has lost population in the last 10 years. If it were a growing area, enrollment would reflect that, she reasons.
Craig said change from joint vocational to career and technical education was to give people a better understanding of what's offered.
She acknowledged that many people have the misconception that the career and technical education centers aim at students who aren't academically inclined.
"We have many programs with high quality training," Craig said, listing aviation, medical occupations and information technology as examples.
The programs and courses of study have changed to match careers available.
"The work place has changed over time," she said. "The work place is more technologically advanced so our curriculum had to become more technologically advanced."
Some of the more popular programs at the center include cosmetology, medical occupations, criminal justice and early childhood education.
Last year, 38 percent of MCCTC students went on to college or other post-secondary education.
Students in the technology programs graduate and get high-paying jobs.
"We're always saying that we are such a well-kept secret," Craig said.