Despite their longevity, Marietta College, Washington State Community College and the Washington County Career Center have facets about which a number of residents may not be aware.
It's not uncommon knowledge that Marietta College's Legacy Library has a Special Collections department, but many people may think its materials deal only with local history.
"Many, many things, particularly the manuscript collections, the oil paintings and the photographs are related to the history of this area," said Linda Showalter, special collections associate. "But it's not the only thing we do."
The college's collections includes about 60,000 rare books from around the United States and the world, including a British history published in London in 1781 that provides a view of the American Revolution from the British perspective.
"There are only three known copies of that book in existence," Showalter said. " One is in (a) British museum. One is in the New York Public Library. And one is here at Marietta College."
The collection, most of which has been donated to the college over the years by residents, faculty and alumni, also includes tens of thousands of manuscript material and photos and about 125 oil paintings and other works of art.
Marietta College's Special Collections - library.marietta.edu/spc/index.html
Washington State's American Sign Language interpreter program - www.wscc.edu/programs-and-certificates/public-service/asl.html
Washington County Career Center - mycareerschool.com
Materials in special collections are used by MC students and faculty for research, as well as their counterparts at other American colleges and universities and scholars around the world. Community members and students also avail themselves of the resources for projects, genealogy and more.
That research must be done in the special collections reading room, in the basement of the library, since none of the materials circulate.
The special collections reading room is generally open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. People are advised to call ahead at 376-4545.
The community college is seen by many as an asset for training in various fields, including mechanical, medical and industrial jobs. But less well known is the college's program for American Sign Language.
"It's created to prepare people as an interpreter," said instructor James Draper.
People can earn an associate's degree in American Sign Language interpretation and be qualified as an educational interpreter for schools in Ohio, Draper said. In order to sit for the test to be certified as a general interpreter and work in other areas - such as for courts, colleges, entertainment venues and to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements at other public and publicly funded venues - a bachelor's degree is required.
But Draper said there are plenty of opportunities for people to work in the school system while continuing their education.
"This is a job right now where you can start and develop and grow and increase," he said.
A recent graduate got her certification as an educational interpreter in West Virginia, which requires passing a test, got a job with Wood County Schools and is set to work next year at a school in Charleston, W.Va., Draper said.
"That's how much of a need there is," he said. "I subbed with a school district (in the Cleveland area) one day during my winter break and was offered a full-time job."
Draper said it is feasible to complete the associate's degree in two years, but it would require taking a pair of classes in two summer periods. Some area high school students may be able to get a head start next year, as Washington State will be providing dual enrollment American Sign Language courses at Frontier, Marietta and Warren high schools.
The degree program culminates with a practicum, in which a student is mentored by a professional interpreter and can use their skills, often in a classroom setting. The college also offers a one-year deaf studies certificate program.
Draper, who started out in marketing, said being an interpreter provides a sense of satisfaction previous jobs lacked.
"There's a satisfaction to knowing you went to the doctor's and interpreted so a someone could understand what's wrong with them, or you interpreted a play so a deaf person could enjoy themselves," he said.
Visitors to the Washington County Career Center's annual open house often remark that they didn't know a certain service or resource was available there.
Among the features catching people's eyes this year were the mock surgery center and the instrumentation and electrical lab.
The mock surgery room was established in 2009 along with the adult training surgical technologist program. It contains an operating room table, anesthesia machine and various instruments that would be located in an actual operating room, said Lenora Binegar, medical programs coordinator.
"The students can get hands-on experience before they go into the operating room," she said. "When our students graduate, we want them to go straight to work."
Surgical technologists wash and sterilize surgical instruments, set up the operating room, help transport patients and hand instruments to surgeons, Binegar said.
The surgical technologist program was started in response to demand for those positions in the area, Binegar said. Twenty-four people go
through the course each year, after which they are eligible to sit for the national certification exam. The center's instrumentation and electrical lab was built with the input of local employers, so it includes machines workers would need
to use, said David Combs, adult technical training director.
"It's the latest and greatest," he said. "It's the (equipment) they want people trained on, so that's what we try to do."