February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. The goal of CTE month is to promote the value of the trades through public awareness. It’s a time to celebrate the success of CTE programs and technical schools across the country.
Here in Pennsylvania, Cabot provides funding for no less than 20 career and tech centers. We also support agencies that create trades-based opportunities for students.
Our financial support provides tech schools and students with scholarships and supplies for practicing skills. Cabot’s investments are more than just courses that are directly related to the gas industry. The goal is to promote trades-based education that leads students more directly to family-sustaining jobs. We want to better prepare them for post-secondary education options, as well.
“Cabot has made it possible for many of our lower socioeconomic students to afford tools and uniforms,” said Natasha Edrington, Workforce Development Coordinator for Parkway West Career & Technology Center (PWCTC). PWCTC is in Allegheny County, where the culinary arts, veterinary assistant, and cosmetology courses draw the highest enrollment. “This financial burden has been taken off their shoulders due to the generous donation from Cabot.”
At Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School (CPVTS), arts & technology, construction and maintenance, and health services top the list. According to school Administrative Director Justin Bruhn, CPVTS will sponsor a watch party on their local public broadcasting channel. “The focus will be to discuss CTE in the mid-state, the important role of the industries and workers, and the impacts of the pandemic,” Justin explained.
Keystone Central School District Career & Technology Education is hosting a popcorn party from Skills USA to mark CTE Month. In addition, they will offer virtual trades tours to those interested, according to Director Kurt Lynch. Nurse assisting, carpentry, and automotive technology are drawing the most students there.
The Lackawanna College School of PNG (LCPNG) will celebrate CTE Month with a CTE Student of the Month Award, according to Program Director Sue Gumble. Cabot created a $2.5 million endowment in 2014 for LCPNG scholarships, equipment, curriculum development and long term needs. In 2016, a pilot Pipeline Program was established between LCPNG and the Susquehanna County Career & Technology Center (SCCTC). This allowed for 11th and 12th grade students to earn college credits in courses specific to the curriculum.
Cabot’s 12-year partnership with SCCTC has provided the center with numerous donations that cross the spectrum of SCCTC’s curriculum. Some of the most recent help, according to Executive Director Alice Davis, includes a donation to the welding program of 25 tons of various diameters of steel gas pipe, which students use in attaining skills needed to enter the gas industry on completion of high school.
The success of our long-term relationships with tech schools prompts us to reach out to new schools like Western Area Career & Technology Center in Canonsburg, where mechatronics, machining and health assistance the most popular courses.
“We are very happy to work with Cabot. They are new to us but have been a real lifesaver for our students,” said Executive Director Dennis McCarthy. “They have given to our students who are unable to pay for items they need to be successful. We have been able to purchase uniforms for students, cosmetology kits, tools, and PPE safety items for our construction cluster.”
Additionally, The Northern Tier Industrial Education Consortium (NTIEC) works with schools in seven northeast PA counties to steer students toward the trades. Alongside equipment, transportation, and manpower, we have partnered with NTIEC in the past for a summer Energy & Oilfield Experience. While unable to do so in 2020, we hope to get these students back into the field in 2021.
Cabot salutes these and another dozen schools across the Commonwealth with whom we’ve forged relationships for continuously moving forward during these challenging times. In the long run, the jobs for which they are training will long outlast any glitches in our lifestyles. Through these partnerships, we celebrate CTE month every day and wish the students the best in their studies and intended careers.