When most people define postsecondary education they think that a 4-year university is the only option.
Postsecondary education is any experience that extends beyond high school that enhances one’s ability to advance to the highest level of their chosen career.
Postsecondary education is not just college it can be technical school classes, internships, apprenticeships, or a combination of all of those programs.
Where would society be without auto mechanics, aviation mechanics, pilots, carpenters, electricians, industrial maintenance mechanics, computer programmers, masonry workers and welders?
These high paying careers begin with study at facilities such as the Bullitt County Area Technology Center.
First year Principal Darrell Vincent works every day to create a pipeline encouraging students to take a look at the programs.
“We want the kids to know there is an alternative route to a career,” Vincent said. “College is important. We are not downplaying its advantages. But the fact is college should be one of several options for a student.”
Let’s focus on each program beginning with Aviation:
Aviation is an area where there will always be employment in the community with proximity to UPS. People are going to fly for business and pleasure. Professional pilots and aviation mechanics are required.
A high school student from Bullitt Central, Bullitt East or North Bullitt can enroll in the spring to begin classes in the fall.
All course descriptions are from the Bullitt County Area Technology Center website. Here is a description of the aviation program:
The Aviation Program at the Bullitt County ATC was introduced in the 2015-2016 school year. Students enrolling in the two year program at the ATC will receive their instruction from a commercial pilot with over 30 years of flight experience. Students will learn the fundamentals of the aerospace industry while getting a perspective into several fields in the industry such as flight, maintenance, engineering, and space travel. Students will also be introduced to military, commercial, and private aviation through coursework in aviation history, use of flight simulators, flying unmanned air vehicles (drones), and building and flying models. In the second year students will focus on one of two certification paths by passing either the FAA Private Pilot Written Exam or the FAA Unmanned Air Systems Exam. Students passing the UAS exam can be licensed to fly drones commercially for payment.
“Not only is our country facing a shortage of pilots, there is also a shortage of aviation mechanics that will provide many opportunities for employment,” Vincent noted. “The ATC has partnered with Jefferson Technical and Community College (JCTC) to provide Bullitt County students a dual credit opportunity in the high demand field of aviation maintenance.”
JCTC reports that there is currently a 3-semester waiting list to get into their aviation maintenance program. Through a partnership with the Bullitt County ATC, JCTC has reserved ten spots for Bullitt County junior and senior students to become a part of this lucrative program. Bullitt County Schools provides transportation for these students to attend the JCTC Southwest campus twice a week were they learn from JCTC instructors and work on real airplane engines including jet engines provided by UPS. Students will work on coursework online on the days that they do not travel to the southwest campus. Through the Work Ready Scholarship much of this program is free of tuition costs making this a tremendous opportunity. Many students completing this program, a year or two after high school, can start off making around $50,000 annually.
Getting back and forth from work, shopping, going to the movies usually involves the dependability of a motor vehicle. When problems arise it is good to know there are professional mechanics when we need their services. Some of these individuals have successfully completed the ATC’s Automotive program.
During this instructional program, students will learn the fundamentals of what makes the various components of the engine, transmission, rear axle, and chassis operate, thereby becoming able to perform logical diagnoses of mechanical malfunctions of the automobile when they occur. Basic skills of diagnosis, disassembly, inspection, repair, assembly, and adjustment using correct tools, equipment, and repair procedures are taught. Developing acceptable work habits of personal safety, shop cleanliness, tool care, and pride of workmanship are also stressed. Students will complete several ASE certificates including the ASE Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) certification.
Juniors that have completed the automotive program or that are looking to enroll in the ATC for the first time might have an interest in working on larger motors and vehicles.
The ATC is finalizing a program with Elizabethtown Community and Technical College (ECTC) in a dual-credit Diesel Technology Program.
Students enrolling in the diesel program through ECTC can make use of the work ready and dual credit scholarships to take many of these courses at no cost. Students in this program must be admitted to ECTC and will be required to attend ECTC two full days per week, for this reason students in this program should also enroll in the Career Ready Center (CRC) housed in the Riverview Opportunity Center (ROC). The blended learning environment at ROC/CRC will allow students the flexible schedule to be successful in this program where students will learn about hydraulics, diesel engine repair, automotive electrical systems, and diesel brake systems.
The ATC also offers many programs in the construction technology area including carpentry, HVAC, masonry, and electrical programs. The tremendous growth of industry and housing in our community is providing ample opportunity for workers skilled in these fields.
The Construction Technology program will prepare students for work in new construction, remodeling, and energy auditing industries. Course offerings include everything from entry level trades courses, all the way to national certification. Current and traditional building practices, updated and advanced framing techniques, energy efficiency, health and safety, and sustainability methods are emphasized.
Construction Pre-Apprenticeship courses that focus on new construction, carpentry, and other building trades are included. Students learn about the tools and techniques used in the construction industries. The students may gain skills in Air Conditioning Technology, Building and Apartment Maintenance, Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Masonry and Plumbing. They are also introduced to green building methods and materials.
Course offerings are intended to promote career ladders for those just entering the industry, as well as industry professionals looking to stay current. There are multiple certificates, degree options, and inter-related disciplines at the ATC students can take advantage of.
Students in the carpentry program will be instructed in floor and wall framing, ceiling and roof systems, site layout, and introduction to construction technology. Students can complete NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) certifications and TRACK (Kentucky Pre-Apprenticeship) certifications as well as OSHA 10.
Masonry students will learn basic blueprint reading, industrial safety, and advanced masonry topics. Students can complete NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) certifications and TRACK (Kentucky Pre-Apprenticeship) certifications as well as OSHA 10.
Students in our newly revitalized HVAC program will study heating and refrigeration, basic electricity, HVAC electrical components, and Environmental Control Systems. Students completing this pathway will be eligible to take the EPA 608 certification examination. Students will also be well on their way towards becoming a HVAC journeyman.
The construction technology programs are all in high-demand in our area with median incomes around $40,000.
Turning on lights at home is second nature. Residents are not aware of the intricate detailed wiring involved. Industrial electricians wiring complex control systems are also in high-demand in our area. The ATC program in electrical technology will prepare students for work in new construction, remodeling and other electrical fields in industry.
Course offerings are intended to promote career pathways to those wanting to enter the industry and which cover electrical theory, construction and electrical safety, trade tools and materials, and exposure to the National Electrical Code (NEC) and its use. Students will explore the NEC Code as it applies to different installations.
Successful completion of the Electrical TRACK Pre-Apprenticeship program can lead to entry into the IBEW or IEC Electrical Apprenticeship programs. Superior academic performance on their entrance exams could lead to credit toward a portion of the 1st year of these apprenticeship programs.
Another pathway is through national industry certification with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) standardized curriculum and hands-on skills performance testing. NCCER keeps a national registry on skills and curriculum earned by students.
One of the ATC’s newest programs is in Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics (Industrial Maintenance Mechanic). The course sequence for this innovative program includes:
Industrial Maintenance Electrical Principles - Includes theory of electricity and magnetism and the relationship of voltage, current, resistance, and power in electrical circuits. The course is designed to develop an understanding of alternating and direct current fundamentals.
Maintaining Industrial Equipment - This course is designed to introduce the student to maintenance techniques and procedures used to maintain industrial equipment including troubleshooting, repairing, and programming robots used in advanced manufacturing and automation. This course is designed to provide the student with lab experience in the maintenance of industrial equipment.
Basic Troubleshooting - This course explores the science of troubleshooting and the importance of proper maintenance procedures; How to work well with others, aids in communication, and trade responsibilities. Students will also learn to use schematics and symbols, focusing on maintenance tasks to solve mechanical and electrical problems.
Basic Blueprint Reading - This course presents basic applied math, lines, Multiview drawings, symbols, various schematics and diagrams, dimensioning techniques, sectional views, auxiliary views, threads and fasteners, and sketching typical to all shop drawings.
Robotics and Automation – This course provides and introduction to the theory of robots including terminology, components, and programming. Theory of servo and nonservo robots is also discussed. Major topics include robot types, controllers, manipulators, programming, fluid power systems, and computer-integrated manufacturing and control systems.
Coming in the fall of 2019 the ATC has partnered with JCTC to provide Bullitt County students a dual credit opportunity in CMM (Computer Machining and Manufacturing).
In the CMM program students will learn 3-D Computer Modeling with Autodesk Inventor and utilize that to program CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machines used in many local industries. These highly trained and skilled workers are in high demand and through the dual-credit scholarship will be able to earn 12 to 15 credit hours towards their associate degree while in high school. Students will be able to become a certified Autodesk user amongst other certificate opportunities in this program.
Students also have opportunities offered at ROC (Riverview Opportunity Center). ROC houses an Information Technology program in partnership with Interapt INC. The partnership can lead to internship opportunities as students learn to program in various computer languages in the new Apple Computer Lab. Students can ride the bus and be involved in the IT program like an ATC student or they can enroll in the CRC’s blended learning environment full time. The CRC allows students to take more than one ATC career pathway while still being able to remain involved in the athletic and extracurricular programs at their home high school. JCTC also offers online IT programs in Network Management and Security among others.
Welding is another high demand program that can provide quite a lucrative career. Many local industries are currently hiring and training welders at top pay.
Welding courses are designed to develop basic manipulative skills and knowledge in each of the following techniques: cutting process, basic welding, oxy-fuel systems, GMAW, GTAW, SMAW, welding blueprints, and welding certification (AWS 2F).
Blueprint reading and metal fabrication are taught relevant to the demands of industry. Students will spend much of their time on live work projects to develop fabrication skills. Primary objects of the course are to teach the attitudes, skills, and knowledge that are necessary to secure and hold a job. The social skills necessary to work harmoniously and safely with fellow workers are also taught. Pride in work done is emphasized throughout the course with the intent that positive attitudes will carry over to the actual job.
These courses require work and study as with any other academic program of study. By investing hours of study and hands on application, youth can gain the valuable experiences in the skilled trades professions that employers are currently seeking and at a very good pay. Many employers will pay for continuing education and even college for employees hired in the skilled trades providing a debt-free path to postsecondary education.