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CTECH: What’s the Buzz?

Katherine Schiraldi, Staff

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Today’s buzz in education is all about hands-on learning. Offering students a chance to be knee-deep in their education with hands-on experiences is quickly becoming the talk of the town. In Rochester, the Career and Technical Education Center at Heintz, or CTECH, is an educational facility open to high school and college students. It offers students multiple opportunities to become more engaged and interested in their education. It opened during the fall of 2016 and offers seven career areas focused on STEM fields: Agriculture, Construction, Engineering, Health Science and Biomedical Science, Hospitality, Informations Technology, and Manufacturing. Students in ninth through twelfth grade may enroll in classes at CTECH.

The process of taking classes at CTECH is fairly simple. For beginning students, an introductory course at their high school might need to be completed before taking more advanced classes at CTECH. Students remain full-time students at their high school, despite taking classes at a different location. There is no grade average needed to attend CTECH, but professionalism and a good work ethic are expected from all students.

Students are able to take school transportation from their high school to CTECH, located at the RCTC Heintz Center, and they stay there for a block class. This block class takes up two regular classes at a student’s high school, transportation time included. The teaching sessions are around 50 minutes long, after which the students are taken back to their high school via Rochester Public Schools Transportation or their own transportation for the remainder of their classes.

Students at CTECH benefit by receiving hands-on experience in multiple STEM courses. The Assistant Principal at CTECH Erin Broviak stated, “Our students are trained in a variety of settings and with industry standard equipment. We have a restaurant style commercial kitchen, a manufacturing lab for welding and machining, a science lab, a computer lab with extensive memory and software, and a 14 bed nursing lab.” CTECH is equipped with professional facilities to further enhance the learning experience. Broviak also stated, “A major benefit of taking classes at CTECH is the opportunity to explore a career pathway at the high school level. Whether students know they have a passion for an area and want to specialize before college or work, or they have a slight interest in an area, they can engage in a class or pathway to see if it aligns with their skills and interests.” This opportunity for high school students is one of CTECH’s key attributes.

In the Health and Biomedical Science pathway, for example, students have the opportunity to take a Nursing Assistant course. A junior at Century high school Madi Greenwaldt said about her Nursing Assistant experience, “I loved the labs and the clinical experience you get to have.” Earning her CNA certification was also a great benefit of the course for her. Students in the course get trained in taking vitals, communicating with patients, and ensuring the care of their patients as Nursing Assistants. In addition, upon completion of the course, students are eligible to take an exam certifying them as Nursing Assistants.

CTECH is a hands-on learning opportunity that challenges students to focus on building the skills needed for future careers. Erin Broviak, Assistant Principal at CTECH commented, “Additionally, our students learn in lab settings that mimic the workplace and college.” This setting allows them to practice being in a professional setting as adults. Students can potentially earn some college credit to select schools or certifications as well. The classes at CTECH go in-depth in their curriculum and expose students to possible careers they never considered. Former-Chamber of Commerce President John Wade stated in a collaborative meeting, “This is not just about technical education, but it’s about encouraging people and exciting them about higher ed.” Occupations in the STEM field are growing at a rapid pace, and CTECH motivates and propels students to take charge of their future.

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