Dover's Career Technical Center gives students head start on careersBy JOHN QUINN
Union Leader Correspondent
October 28. 2013 8:41PM
DOVER — Times have changed so the Career Technical Center at the high school is evolving to train the future workforce in a variety of fields — from cosmetology to carpentry and animal science to engineering.
More importantly, students have opportunities to get a head start in their chosen fields, through work-study and internship programs, or earn their certification upon completing high school, according to CTC Coordinator April O’Keefe.
“These kids have a working resume with real experience,” O’Keefe said.
The CTC serves the tri-city area, so high school students from around Dover, Rochester and Somersworth can start taking quarter-long introduction classes freshman and sophomore years, O’Keefe said.
“You can actually try four things in one year,” O’Keefe said, adding the opportunities are only limited by scheduling and initiative.
This way, O’Keefe said students can focus on subjects which interest them and expand their knowledge base.
“We’re really working hard to make partnerships with businesses in the community,” O’Keefe said, adding as a result, the CTC offers more than vocational schools of the past as graduates can pursue a trade, career or go through college.
“The bar has risen higher,” O’Keefe said.
Computer Technology Instructor Irving Harris, who is believer in the basics, said he teaches students to repair older equipment, as many businesses may not possess the “latest and greatest” technology.
Harris said he wishes he had the same opportunity in high school, especially because several of his students continue to hone their abilities and earn certifications while working at Certified Retail Solutions in Dover.
Many of those students, including Logan Duncan, 16, a junior from Dover, get to work on a lot of older systems that come into the store. “They have us fix them up or repair them,” Duncan said, adding that many students earn computer certification, which will help them work on different systems and applications.
The relationship has proven to be beneficial to the students and the company, which supports retail stores and has branched off to self-service and kiosk business, according to Operational Manager Amy Alden.
“It’s fun for us and it’s a great opportunity for them,” Alden said, adding they also employ college interns and have used marketing students from the CTC in the past.
Senior Ryan Hackett, 17, of Dover, said he’s also applied to help out in the information technology department at Dover High.
“I’ve been to the class a quarter and already have a job,” Hackett said.
Because the CTC offers the only cosmetology class in the Seacoast, instructor Judith Ring said she’s glad they were able to expand to two, first-year classes to enable more students to get a foothold in the industry.
King said graduates of the 1,500-hour, two-year program can earn their certification without further schooling. She added last year all 17 of her students passed the exam.
“It costs $300 instead of $20,000,” Ring said, adding as a result, they can begin a career right out of high school, have confidence while attending college or have tangible skills to use to operate a business.
Scott Duprat, who teaches engineering at the CTC, said they created an all-girls engineering class to encourage female students pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“They (girls) have a different outlook than boys,” Duprat said, adding this allows them to focus in male-dominated fields, but also fills a need since many engineering firms are looking to hire women.
“In the past, the opportunity hasn’t been there,” Duprat said.
Electrical teacher Nathan Poland said students who complete two years of study earn their Occupational Safety Health Administration 10 construction cards, which is a requirement to work in the state.
“It makes them a better pick if they’re going for a job,” Poland said, adding the course also allows them to complete the rest of their apprenticeship in three years rather than four.
For more information, go to dover.k12.nh.us.