PARKERSBURG — Career Technical Education (CTE) programs will now be offered to sophomores and freshmen at Wood County schools.
“We are open to all levels because we believe in the power of CTE for all students.” said Jason Hughes, director of technical and adult training in Wood County.
“Traditionally, these programs were kind of restricted to juniors and seniors only,” said Hugh. “Most of our teachers in the program want to extend this to sophomores, and even freshmen.”
The two centers that offer CTE programs are the Wood County Technical Center, located next to Parkersburg South High School at 1515 Blizzard Dr., and the Caperton Center for Applied Technology located on the West Virginia University campus in Parkersburg. at 300 Campus Drive.
The Caperton Center has four programs offered to high school students. Emergency management and fire program, electrical technologies program and modifications are underway to include a pre-engineering drawing program and a computer and networking program.
Programs offered at Wood County Technical Center are Accounting and Professional and Vocational Training, Agricultural Science, Automotive Technology, Carpentry, Collision Repair, Law and Public Safety, Pre-Engineering, Computer Science, ProStart Restaurant Management, Therapeutic Services, Welding, Basic Adult Education and Practical Nursing.
Hughes thinks many might have the wrong idea of what CTE programs are and what they have to offer.
“CTE has really evolved over the years,” said Hugh. “Many may consider it vocational education, or maybe even refer to it as that, I’d love to help break down that old terminology, because it’s so much more now.”
Hughes said some students are involved in work readiness programs that prepare them to enter the workforce directly, but several programs are only part of a student’s continuing education. CTE courses and programs can be a starting point for students to then go beyond and earn a certification, an associate’s degree, or even a bachelor’s degree.
“CTE kind of fits into a lot of different student journeys into the future, not just straight into work,” said Hugh. “While we have students who are obviously going to be equipped to do this, we want them to be prepared, not only for the career, but also for college, if that’s their choice.”
There are CTE programs already accredited by WVU-P where students can have 12 to 16 hours of college credit on their transcripts, but Hughes partners with WVU-P to help students’ continuing education even further. The newest program offered this year is in pre-cosmetology where students can earn a hairdressing certificate and Hughes works with WVU-P for the remainder of the cosmetology certification.
“I have just been in this position (Director of Technical Career and Adult Education) for just over a month,” said Hugh. “But I was amazed at the potential and the opportunity that we have WVU-P and their leadership.”
For more information on CTE programs offered, individuals can contact the Wood County Technical Center at 304-420-9501, or visit the campus at 1515 Blizzard Dr.