SCCTC doubles floor space

At the Saturday morning ribbon cutting of the 37,000 square-foot expansion of the Susquehanna County Career and Technology Center are, in the front row Elk Lake School Board member Donica McGee, Rep. Tina Pickett, R-Towanda, project manager Ken Truman, EL Superintendent William Bush, SCCTC Director Alice Davis, Rep. Sandra major, R-Montrose, and ELSB member Arden Tewksbury. In the back row are ELSB members Chuck Place, and Harold Bender. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

The Susquehanna County Career andTechnologyCenteropened a new building Saturday morning that more than doubles its floor space and will add five new vocational training options for students in the region.

SCCTC Director Alice Davis said to parents attending a grand opening that the new programs will allow students to “stay in the area without having to stay in your house.”

She said it was a sad commentary on society that former college students universally are carrying $1 trillion in debt, but noted “We want to get those coming to us ready for good-paying jobs” and a student graduating from SCCTC in addition to getting a diploma would also receives a list of competencies mastered.

Elk Lake superintendent William Bush said a Gallup poll recently revealed that globally the one thing people wanted more than anything else was “a good job.”

“We’re responding to that,” Bush said. “One of our goals with each of these programs is does it give your kids economic oportunity?”

The expansion includes a 37,000-square foot addition on the opposite side of the parking lot that faces the career center’s previous main entrance.

John Kropcho has been architect on the project since feasibility studies were conducted in 2008 and construction of the $7 million project actually began in December of 2010.

The expansion provides additional space for existing programs, plus room and facilities to accommodate five new education programs.

Jim Caswell of the new Automotive Collision Repair Technology program shares a thought with Elk Lake School Board President Chuck Place. STAFF PHOTO/ROBERT BAKER

The new programs which will be getting their first students Tuesday are:

*Auto body collision and repair technician- trains students to repair automobiles and light truck;

*Vehicle maintenance and small engine repair technology- trains students to repair, service, maintain and diagnose problems with small gasoline engines;

Protective services- prepares students to be able to perform entry-level duties as a police officer, fire fighter, paramedic and other safety services; and

*Welding.

A fifth new program, to train Licensed Practical Nurses will be launched in 2013.

Jim Caswell who will oversee the automotive collision repair program is expecting 14 students this week, but is expecting full capacity of around 50 over three years time.

On the other side of the building Ray Intaglio, who has spent the last 20 years teaching industrial arts at Western Wayne said he is excited to be facing 40 students in welding in a state-of-the-art facility that has 14 welding booths.

Davis and Intaglio both noted the program was highly popular because of a critical national shortage of welders.

Jim Cimino who has been with SCCTC since it opened in 1984 and is considered the grandaddy of its teachers is happy to have new space for his already popular automotive technology program.

On the other end of the age spectrum, Justine Dickinson, 25, comes armed to the new protective services program with a master’s degree as well as experience as a probation officer.

She said she is ecstatic to be part of a program she wished she could have been involved in when she was in high school looking at career options.

Current programs offered at SCCTC include automotive technology, carpentry and cabinetmaking, building and property management, business education, cosmetology, health care technology, and cooperative education/diversified occupations.

Students at SCCTC are involved in a number of hands-on projects, including the construction of three homes, operating a restaurant, running a branch of the P&G Employees Federal Credit Union, and others.

SCCTC is adjacent to Elk Lake High School which is one of seven sending schools to the center.

The others are Blue Ridge, Lackawanna Trail, Montrose Area, Mountain View, Susquehanna Community and Tunkhannock Area.

Davis said that night and weekend classes would eventually be available to adult students in most subject areas in future years.

She also said she was pleased to announce that Mansfield University was entering a new cooperative arrangement whereby some SCCTC credits would be transferrable for associate’s degree programs, and Mansfield would soon be offering college courses in Dimock.

Dr. Dennis Wydra of the Marcellus Institute at Mansfield said Saturday afternoon that he was excited about the SCCTC Partnership at Elk Lake, and starting Monday his school would indeed be offering online classes at the Susquehanna County campus.