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LCTC offers a variety of career preparedness programs

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

What do cosmetology, welding and nursing have in common?

They are all programs of study available to Chilton County students at LeCroy Career Technical Center.

LeCroy Career Technical Center serves as a place for students from all over the county to study what they truly want to pursue as a future career.

“Last year, we had 425 students,” Dr. Shannon Walker, director of LCTC, said in a presentation to the Clanton Kiwanis Club.

There are 10 programs offered, including auto service technology, autobody repair, cosmetology, industrial maintenance, health science, HVAC, welding, Public Service Fire, building and construction as well as the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy.

Most programs include Career Readiness Indicators, which provide opportunities for students to test for certifications within their chosen field.

Health Science and welding are two of the most popular programs.

Walker said the health science class is not only popular with students wanting to go into the medical field, but also those wanting to become veterinarians.

Walker emphasized that the Technical Center is not just for students who are not going to college.

“It’s for everybody,” she said.

One student, who wants to be an engineer, took the autobody repair class “because he wanted to be able to see the mechanics of everything and how things work because he knew that could help him,” Walker said.

The programs follow a simulated workplace model with students filling out an application and participating in an interview to explain why they want to study in the program they are applying to.

Students select two programs that they are interested in. This way if they cannot get into the program they were most interested in, they can likely attend their second-choice program.

Students must be passing their core classes at the high school they attend in order to attend classes at LCTC.

Classes are divided into morning and afternoon classes with students driving or taking the bus to the campus from their high school. Each class has a student foreman.

Four of the programs include paid internship opportunities. These include auto service technology, industrial maintenance, HVAC and construction.

These are available to seniors, who would be in their second year of a LCTC program, “who have mastered those initial skills,” Walker said.

Students who qualify are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity.

“They get credit for coming to career tech, but they also get that real-world experience,” Walker said.

Many that have done internships with the road department have been able to later work full-time for the department.

“It is a great, great opportunity for them and I am so thankful that we have been able to do that for our kids,” Walker said.

LCTC is hoping to expand these opportunities in the future as more community partnerships are established.

In addition to the classes for high school students, LCTC also offers a night welding class open to high school students and adults. Certification testing is available in this class also.

Walker said there are plans to offer additional night classes in the future.

“We are looking to bridge that gap a little bit better,” she said.

Career coaches Wendy Fortner and Sjohna Hughes also presented information about classroom classes and promoting career and technical education to high school and middle school students.

They help the high school students with applying for financial aid for college, scheduling college visits, how to write a resume, etc.