New Stanton school introduces children to career choices

| Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, 9:28 p.m.

Sixth-grade students from Mt. Pleasant Area School District got to learn about career options during a tour of the Central Westmoreland Career and Technical Center in New Stanton.

Traditionally, district students have not been taken on a tour of the facility until their freshman year.

“We want to encourage career awareness at a younger age so when they get to the high school, it is not a bombardment,” said Debbie Pierce, a student counselor at Norvelt Elementary.

Mt. Pleasant elementary school counselors received a Counseling For Career Success grant, sponsored by the United Way and the state Department of Education.

Beth Butala, a Central Westmoreland career education counselor, said the initiative is designed to educate children, beginning in kindergarten, about their choices in the world of work.

On the tour, the Mt. Pleasant youngsters learned about the center's Powerline program, which involves repairing power lines, climbing utility poles and relevant safety procedures.

Students also explored the fields of cosmetology, horticulture, graphic design and culinary arts.

“We wanted the children to be able to tour the facility and to be able to see all 23 different career programs we offer here and talk to (Central Westmoreland) students about what they do here every day,” Butala said.

Matthew Achtziger, 11, of Acme, said he thought the tour was interesting, particularly the display featuring mechatronics — a new program involving mechanical instrumentation, electronics, robotics, automation and computer systems. He also enjoyed the health occupation technology display.

“I think this would be a nice place to come when I'm older because I think it will help me prepare for college and help get me a job that I might choose in the future,” Achtziger said.

Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.

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