This past year has presented unique challenges to the education community. The Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center has additional challenges based on the decisions of its seven sending schools. Even if the SCCTC is open every day, its students — for the most part — follow sending school schedules. Consequently, all Career Center programs have been set up with virtual capabilities for any student on any given day. In the event a student is quarantined or a sending school closes for COVID-19 related reasons, the instructor is notified and the virtual classroom is accessible that day to the students. This process will probably continue on some level even after the pandemic since it has proven to be very effective. Students never feel behind or left out because they can always see what is going on and receive instruction even when they are unable to attend in person.
The Carpentry and Building Maintenance Programs build a house which takes 3 school years from start to finish. Due to remote learning, the project was behind schedule, and more importantly, the fear was that students would not receive the necessary exposure to a real-life building experience. Since state funds were available due to a Continuity of Education COVID Relief Grant, a Lab Assistant was hired to assist the Worksite Coordinator so that they could service more students at a time at the worksite. That way, this year’s graduates received the exposure necessary to be ready for the workforce or to continue their education in their desired field.
The Welding Program received a grant from the state Department of Economic Development that was geared toward getting them practical work experience prior to graduation in the manufacturing community. Since COVID-19 regulations forced businesses to cancel the experiences, we applied to redirect those monies toward the purchase of a welding simulator, as well as career exploration software to provide hands-on welding education to students who couldn’t be on the worksite. The Cooperative Education Instructor facilitates the program with small groups, and this program has been well received by the welding students.
The Susquehanna County Career and Technology students are again participating in Skills USA competitions – only this year, the competitions are held virtually! Students compete via Zoom, and judges watch them on computers instead of in person. Although the organizers had some reservations, the competitions went extremely well and there may be changes to some future competitions based on these virtual experiences.
As challenges arise, they are addressed. While keeping the students safe and healthy during COVID-19 is always the priority, adjustments to delivery methods have been necessary to meet program requirements. Dr. Alice M. Davis, SCCTC Executive Director, stated, “I have been absolutely amazed at the resilience of the students and the instructors during this past 12 months. They have risen to the challenges presented during the pandemic and exceeded my expectations. I feel confident that even during these trying times, our students are prepared to meet the needs of the workforce community.”
If your business is seeking skilled young talent, or is interested in partnering with SCCTC, please contact Dr. Alice Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.