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CAREER CENTER SECRET - February 23, 2006

Calhoun-Gilmer Career/Technical Center is a hidden secret of Calhoun County.

I attended Sophomore/College Night at the Career Center last Thursday night and had my knowledge updated on the relationship between career/technical education and college.

EDGE is an acronym for Earn a Degree--Graduate Early. This program begins with phase one of a five-year plan at the eighth grade level. Middle school students are gaining the knowledge and skills to be successful in a college preparatory curriculum and have an opportunity to prepare for future education and careers.

Start planning for your future as a sophomore in high school. Talk to guidance counselors, but also talk to college representatives and have them evaluate your plan. This will prepare you for taking courses that will be accepted at other colleges that are in the plan.

Seven of 10 programs at the Career Center are able to award between 12 and 24 hours of college credits to apply towards two- and four-year college programs while students are still in high school. This can be used in applying for a Promise Scholarship.

Classes from Glenville State College and Fairmont State University are taught at the Career Center. Students with academic and career/technical education do well in college and have a high rate of completing requirements for graduation.

Sixty percent of Career Center students are college bound and have skills that can lead to part time work in their chosen field. Experience your chosen profession before you spend time and money in college. You may decide that you want to change career paths.

Career centers give opportunities for adults to upgrade their skills in their chosen field, leading to better credentials and higher wages. Adults who do not have a high school diploma can enroll in the Adult Basic Education class to earn their GED and open doors to career training.

Competency tests are used to evaluate learning. These tests are prepared on the state level to make sure all students are graded on a fair and equal basis.

Employers support technical education because less time is needed for orientation to basic work skills, cooperation and communication.

Eighty-six percent of graduates with a two-year degree will find work in the state and usually have an opportunity to take classes connected with their work that will lead to a four-year degree. This allows them to work and learn at the same time.

Minimum wage averages $10,712 a year. Wages of a career/ technical graduate average $26,500 a year.

I remember hearing students say that the last semester of high school is a waste because they have completed their requirements and are just marking time until graduation. Career Center students are preparing to take part in skills contests that will provide opportunities for scholarships and additional credits.

An example is the Envirothon, which is the number one student contest in the U.S. It also includes some international participants. Preparation includes research and a presentation as a team. This gives experience in cooperation, appearance and public speaking.

A student of any age, who wants an education beyond high school, just needs to say, “I want to take advantage of what is available for me.” There are no excuses because of funding, time, or family background. It is available. It won’t happen if you don’t try.

“When opportunity knocks, open the door. If it doesn’t knock, build a door.”

This Week's Editorial:

By Helen Morris:

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