“They get here and they really find success in their skill area,” Fazenbaker said. “They are finding a passion.”
About 20 percent of Allegany County students typically attend the Career Center, and this year, enrollment is 351.
Ed Taylor’s electrical construction and maintenance class is almost always full. The first sentence of the descriptor in the Career Center’s course catalogue pretty much explains it: “Highly skilled electricians are never without a job.”
“We look through books at diagrams of houses people have built,” said Josh Shuck, a senior who plans to try to pass a test to join a union after graduation. Students study theory at desks, then apply their skills at individual work stations.
“We have to figure out the loads and all that stuff,” said Shuck, who wound up at the Career Center because his older brother attended the HVAC program. Justin Shuck recently received an associate degree and is on the job market, Taylor said.
About 150 students and parents attended Wednesday night’s open house, and school staff met them at the door to find out what programs they were interested in.
“A majority have two or three choices,” said Darlene Bacon, tech prep coordinator, who recruits sophomores throughout the school year. Only juniors and seniors can attend the Career Center.
“I think parents are seeing that besides the academics, students need some kind of technical skill for employment,” Bacon said. “And the career center offers both.”
Fritz, who hopes to become a state trooper, then an FBI agent after getting a college degree, carries a fake pistol and a real set of handcuffs, like all the law enforcement students.
Kaitlyn Growden signed up for the program because she’s interested in joining the Army.
“They suggested I try this,” said Growden, 16, who moved to Cresaptown from Florida a few months ago and is happy with the Career Center. “You get to learn a lot of stuff like fingerprinting, handcuffing. We do PT every morning — a mile-and-a-half run, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups.”