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Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center invites public to open house

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
The Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center is able to offer students hands-on training in professions that they can start in upon graduation. An affiliation with local busniesses allows for presentations, internships and job opportunities for students. Pennsylvania Builders Association will be examining programs which students study at the school. The Masonry program, which requires students to amass 360 hours of experience, enables students to take the certification test after graduation. Dustin Gaffney works on his birdhouse project which is one of the requirements of the program. Lori C. Padilla/For the Daily Courier

The Connellsville Area Career and Technical Center will hold an open house on Thursday. The theme is “Salute To Business.”

“We want to recognize and honor our affiliation with the local businesspeople. Not only do they help the CACTC by being part of the advisory committee, but there are those who come in and do presentations and meet and talk to our students about what's available in the workplace and how they might become part of the workforce, giving them behind the scenes insight. They provide opportunities for worksite visits and internships and a better idea of what is available,” said Linda Murphy, school administrative director.

Murphy said the school hopes to establish more work-site shadowing opportunities, such as the one health occupation students have at a local nursing home.

“We are always looking for places for our students to visit or have an internship or a job-shadowing,” said Murphy. “We are very grateful for businesses who give donations to the school. They know that we are preparing students to enter the workforce and the more that we can simulate what actually happens in our local businesses through use of certain kinds of equipment or training or tasks that are needed will certainly give our students a better idea of what they can expect out in the work place.”

Examples of tools, equipment, supplies and materials donated include car panels by Butchko Brothers to be used when CACTC recently held Skills USA competitions here.

“We just received another one today from Painter's Choice. A Color Max 3 wall cabinet that students will use for matching vehicle paint colors, valued at several thousand dollars. It is an item needed for National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation certification, which we are working on,” said Murphy.

The CACTC auto mechanics and auto body classes are working to get everything needed to be able to apply for NATEF national standards certification. Then students who complete the program will leave CACTC with an industry-recognized certification that will help them get jobs. The certification will also qualify the automotive programs to receive additional donations and support from General Motors and Ford, etc. who can donate cars knowing that the students are coming out of CACTC with a national certification and can immediately go to work at a dealership.

“We are adding additional certifications to all of our programs, so the more input we have from businesses to help guide us on what we need the better prepared and qualified our students will be. An example is the Pennsylvania Builders Association coming in this week to take a look at several of our construction programs to give their endorsement for those programs. It's an exciting direction we are going and good for everyone,” said Murphy.

The open house on Thursday gives the CACTC an opportunity to recognize how much officials there appreciate the feedback from businesses, knowing how important it is to help the school operate.

There also will be representatives from post-secondary schools, apprenticeship programs and area chambers of commerce. Students will give guided tours and demonstrations.

The marketing program has a coffee shop in the CACTC library as part of its program requirement. “It's called Books and Beans and it is operated by those students who sell coffee, tea, lattes, hot chocolate, cappuccinos and some snacks. The twist is that when students go in they have to be reading something. It will be operating as part of the open house. We've invited the folks from the Carnegie Free Library to attend, too,” said Murphy.

The open house is 5 to 8 p.m.

The building was recently renovated and remodeled.

“There are people who come in for lunch, to buy at the bakery or have cosmetology services, but they may not appreciate all that we have here. We want them to attend too.,” said Murphy.

Find out more about CACTC programs by visiting the website at The CACTC is located at 720 Locust St. Ext.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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