Butler County Area Vo-Tech students prepare to take the next step
Springtime signifies new beginnings, especially for high school seniors as they think about upcoming graduation and where life will take them afterward.
So what are Butler County's seniors doing after their high school careers end? For many students at Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School, their training will enable them to jump right into the workforce.
Machine technology student Gregory Branchen, 18, of Penn is interviewing at Penn United Technologies in Cabot in hopes that he'll land a job by the time he graduates. He's excited to join the workforce straight out of high school.
“It's all uphill from here,” Branchen said.
Heavy equipment student Cody Johnston, 17, of Saxonburg was accepted to International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66 where he will go through a paid, four-year apprenticeship before taking a full-time job with the union.
It's a dream come true for Johnston, who grew up on a farm raising horses and cattle and working with machinery.
“It's something I've wanted to do my whole life,” he said.
The vocational-technical school has about 805 students enrolled in 16 programs including heavy equipment, carpentry, graphic arts, culinary arts and cosmetology. Students attend from Butler Area, Karns City, Mars Area, Moniteau, Seneca Valley, Slippery Rock and South Butler school districts.
A study of 306 Butler vo-tech graduates from 2013 found that 92 percent of them had been “gainfully placed” in employment in their field, employment outside their field, military service or pursuing additional education.
There are 400 seniors expected to receive certificates of completion May 28 at Butler County Community College Field House.
Joseph Cunningham, vocational administrative director for the school, said even as the cost of education rises, school districts see the merit in a vocational-technical school like Butler's for the work-ready students it graduates.
“School districts want this,” Cunningham said. “Because of the economy, a lot of people are seeing the cost of a college education is so expensive, and a lot of those students won't be getting jobs when they graduate. Employers are looking for skill-specific individuals.”
The option of getting hands-on training at the vocational-technical school also is attractive for those who want to pursue post-secondary education. The school has agreements with Butler County Community College and other regional technical schools that allow students to get credit hours for completed courses and industry skill certifications.
Health occupations student Sarah Rager, 18, of Saxonburg said she'll have 13 credits when she begins classes at Butler County Community College this summer, thanks to the certifications she's received from vo-tech.
Rager hopes to enter the community college's nursing program next year.
There are dozens of industry certifications available to vo-tech students that can give them advanced placement, higher wages and higher work levels in their field.
During the 2011-12 school year, the most recent year for which data are available, 351 Butler vo-tech students earned 887 certifications, the highest number of certifications earned of any technical school in the state.
“We must never be complacent,” said Cunningham, who's been director of the school for 15 years. “If we're not going to give the best and brightest to business leaders, then shame on us.”
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Woman charged with leaving young boys in hot car at Zelienople bar
- Butler Township considers taking over bar noise enforcement
- Butler County continues to experience population growth
- Residents offer input on direction of Cranberry
- St. Kilian parishioners await new church
- Government contractor FCi Federal expands into Butler
- Evans City looks to pool resources for repairs
- Oxford filing seeks to overturn award of VA project to Cambridge