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CTE programs to be offered to underclassmen

Career courses now open to more students

Jason Hughes, the director of career technical and adult education in Wood County, talks about opening up programs to sophomores and freshmen Monday. Hughes is also the Director of the Wood County Technical Center and the Caperton Center for Applied Technology. (Photo Provided)

PARKERSBURG — Career Technical Education (CTE) programs are now going to offered to sophomore and freshman students in Wood County Schools.

“We are opening ourselves up to all grades because we believe in the power of CTE for all students.” said Jason Hughes, the director of career technical and adult education in Wood County.

“Traditionally, these programs have been kind of limited to junior and seniors only,” Hughes said. “Most of our program teachers are wanting to expand that to sophomores, and even freshmen.”

The two centers that offer CTE programs are the Wood County Technical Center, located next to Parkersburg South High School at 1515 Blizzard Dr., and the Caperton Center for Applied Technology located on the West Virginia University at Parkersburg campus at 300 Campus Drive.

The Caperton Center has four programs offered to high school students. The emergency fire and management program, electrical technologies program, and changes are being made to include a pre-engineering drafting program and a computer science and networking program.

Programs offered at the Wood County Technical Center are accounting and career and work skills training, agricultural sciences, auto technology, carpentry, collision repair, law and public safety, pre engineering, computer science, ProStart restaurant management, therapeutic services, welding, adult basic education and practical nursing.

Hughes believes many might have the wrong idea about what the CTE programs are, and what they have to offer.

“CTE has really evolved over the years,” Hughes said. “Many may think of it as vocational education, or still maybe even refer to it as that, I would like to help break down that old terminology, because it’s so much more now.”

Hughes said some students are involved in work ready programs that prepare them to enter right into the workforce, but several programs are just one part of a student’s continued education. The CTE classes and programs can be a jump off point for students to then go beyond and obtain a certification, an associates degree, or even a bachelor’s degree.

“CTE kind of fits into a lot of different students’ pathways to the future, not just that straight to work,” Hughes said. “Even though we do have students that are obviously going to be equipped to do that , we want them to be prepared, not only for career, but for college, if that’s their choice, as well.”

There are CTE programs that are already accredited by WVU-P where students can have 12-16 college credit hours on their transcripts, but Hughes is partnering with WVU-P to help the continued education of students even more. The newest program being offered this year is in pre-cosmetology where students can get a hair styling certificate and Hughes is working with WVU-P for the rest of the cosmetology certification.

“I’ve just been in this role (director of career technical and adult education) for a little over a month,” Hughes said. “But I have been amazed at the potential and the opportunity that we have WVU-P and their leadership.”

For more information on the CTE programs offered individuals can contact the Wood County Technical Center at 304-420-9501, or visit the campus at 1515 Blizzard Dr.

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