Industry partnerships boost training program and Future Craftsmen
As part of their school day, a group of Carroll County students may repair a battered snowplow blade or dump truck tailgate, build ADA-compliant stairs for a nonprofit, help design a 9/11 memorial or machine a small, metal plate that will go into low-Earth orbit aboard a Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory mission.
The students are enrolled in the construction trades programs at Carroll County Career & Technology Center (CCCTC). Instructors say those programs, which have swept the BC&E Future Craftsman Awards two years running, excel largely because of their active partnerships with industry.
The year-long, four-hours-per-day programs, “combine classroom and workshop instruction with a ton of opportunities for students to work on real-life projects and apply the skills they are learning,” said Carrie Potts, School Counselor.
Those projects range from helping local farmers who come to CCCTC for equipment repairs to internships and part-time jobs.
“I know industry is busy and doing outreach to a school can feel like putting one more thing on a plate that’s already full. But if there is some small project that you can do in partnership with a school, that can spur kids’ interest and motivate them to do great things in the industry,” said Mike Alban, CCCTC’s Drafting Instructor.
Industry professionals who serve on the school’s Program Advisory Committees (PACs) also contribute greatly to the success of the curriculum, said Michael Schweinsberg, Welding Instructor. The PAC’s input and support have enabled the welding program to keep up with industry developments, including the growing need for welders who can read blueprints, fabricate and operate computerized tools.
Attendees of the BC&E Craftsmanship Awards got a glimpse of the quality of students emerging from CCCTC. All three Future Craftsman winners in 2019 came from the center.
A member of the National Junior Honor Society, drafting student Ariana Diaz excels in math and science, and represents her school on the Local Advisory Council on Career and Technology Education. A SkillsUSA officer and webmaster, Diaz will complete 1,000 hours of study in technical, architectural, civil and computer-aided drafting by year’s end. For one of her drafting projects, Diaz collaborated with staff at her former middle school to create a plan to renovate the library and STEAM Room/Makerspace.
Jonah Maenner became fascinated with welding in sixth grade when he helped a friend’s father, who had graduated from the CCCTC program, repair a set of Bobcat grapples. A SkillsUSA member, avid football and lacrosse player, and a youth football league coach, Maenner delights in the projects he has already completed for customers, including rebuilding fish tank stands, fabricating benches and creating an elaborate exhaust stack to be welded to the base plate of a truck. Eager to start a career as a welder, Maenner is hoping to specialize in pipeline or underwater welding.
OSHA 10 certified and a volunteer at the local fire department, Logan Davidson has already started his career in electrical construction. He became fascinated with the trade after he helped his father wire an addition to their house. Quick to dig into class assignments, Davidson extensively researches unfamiliar processes and materials, and explores multiple options for completing an electrical task. He spent last summer working for a contractor, wiring new and remodeled homes, and intends to get his journey’s license after high school.