Welcome to the second part of our discussion about Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center’s (SCCTC) newest program: a CDL training course. After annoucing the program last July, the first class is soon to be underway with a full roster of ambitious students. In the weeks leading up to the opening class, Congressman Fred Keller visited for a tour of the new facility and a roundtable discussion with industry supporters.
At the roundtable, Keller was joined by representatives from Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, SCCTC, Commonwealth Charitable Management, Elk Lake School District, Lackawanna College School of Petroleum and Natural Gas, The Northern Tier Industrial Education Consortium, and others. The discussion focused on further developing funding opportunities so that more students can achieve success through the programs offered.
Getting funding to career and technology center students has been an obstacle in past years. Dr. Cuomo, Superintendent at Elk Lake School District, noted that a decade ago, business and industry stepped up to the plate at the same time funding ended for dual enrollment. “Rural students had limited access to post-secondary education,” said Cuomo. “We had to create some unique opportunities and subsidize what we lost at the state level.” Fortunately, business and legislative partnerships are making it possible to steer money toward these valuable programs.
For example, Commonwealth Charitable Management links schools with companies to allocate Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) dollars that go directly toward equipment, uniforms, and certification costs for students.
The Northern Tier Industrial Education Consortium (NTIEC) helps businesses apply for funding for internships. They also conduct career-themed camps and school field days to allow students to see the largest variety of career opportunities possible. “We try to stop false starts,” said Deb Tierney, Education Coordinator for NTIEC. “We save families a lot of money.” Providing greater opportunities for industry to directly support trades education is crucial to NTIEC’s mission, she continued. “Because we are so small, these partnerships are especially important at getting opportunities to the students.”
With yet another opportunity coming to the region through the CDL program, representatives from Elk Lake School District acknowledge the support the community is giving. Chuck Place, Elk Lake Board President, agrees that “we’ve come a long way” in promoting the value in career and technology centers and the promising futures they have to offer. Continuing to host industry and legislative leaders for valuable roundtable discussions will only continue to change this culture in a positive way. “What you believe a kid can do, they will live up to. If you place limits on kids, they will believe it.”