February is Career and Technical Education® (CTE) Month which celebrates the achievements of CTE programs across the United States.
Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC) is once again charting new territory in the education arena. SCCTC has ten new pioneers in its classroom as it pilots a new dual credit program with Lackawanna College. My discussion with the group of select students focused on how fortunate they are and how they are responsible for the next generation of students to follow in their footsteps.
I relayed to the students that this was not the first time SCCTC was taking learning to places it had not been; only six years before SCCTC was a innovation leader with a program called Fit 4 Gas. This was a program was created to provide educational assistance and insights for those looking to gain knowledge into the new emerging energy industry. Dr. Alice Davis, Executive Director of SCCTC, teamed up with Pennsylvania’s Career Link to pilot this program to students, returning veterans, and those recently unemployed.
Fit 4 Gas become a model in Pennsylvania, was renamed ShaleNET, received more than $5 million from the federal government and resulted in hundreds of Pennsylvanians getting jobs in the natural gas field. Today, Cabot has employees in Susquehanna County who graduated from the program six years ago.
So as I spoke with these high school students who are starting their journey taking college level courses, I tried to impress upon them the significance of the opportunity and how the program is designed for their success.
Jeannine Barrett, Program Director at Lackawanna College School of Petroleum & Natural Gas, was also on hand at this event. She stated, “These student have the opportunity to have a halo around them. They have the chance to learn things in high school that will make them unique once they enter LC.”
In the pilot program at SCCTC, LCPNG faculty are the ones teaching the courses. As with all dual credit programs, the faculty will run the class as if they were in college, these student will get the chance to understand the industry lingo and jargon well before taking a step on the campus.
I can only hope that the steps these students take today could result in a program that gets expanded statewide and results in careers for hard working Pennsylvanians.