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Destroying a myth

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Published June 20. 2011 05:01PM

More than 300 students attend classes daily at the Carbon Career & Technical Institute, formerly named the Carbon County Area Vocational Technical School. With its newly renovated, state of-the-art facility, many are hoping CCTI will be seen as a strong starting point for career goals for students throughout the county.

For too many years, vocational schools were viewed as the placement for students who were not academically oriented in the traditional high school setting. However, for many former graduates of both CCAVTS and CCTI, they will attest to the fact that the time spent there, as a career and technical student, was a wise choice. They acquired industry-required technical skills and vigorous academics in a family-like atmosphere.

The student body at CCTI reflects that of any typical high school. They are mastering the state-required academics, with continuous yearly increased PSSA scores, in addition to technical and trade skills that will give many of them the competitive edge in the workplace over traditional high school graduates. This year's NOCTI (National Occupational Competency Testing Institute) scores were the best ever. Out of eighty-three students, fifty-nine (71 percent) scored advanced in their technical areas. An additional 8% scored competent, surpassing the state average of 67 percent. This is an outstanding achievement for CCTI and students.

In the smaller setting, students receive more personalized attention in both the technical and academic realms. Articulation, college courses, hands-on-experience, co-operative education opportunities, and numerous certifications that are available to the students at CCTI make them more attractive to employers and post-secondary institutions.

One of the biggest myths still facing CCTI graduates is that they cannot apply or be accepted to competitive colleges or trade/technical schools. This year, 38 percent of the graduating class has been accepted to post-secondary facilities. Many of these students have earned significant scholarship money as a result of academic achievement, class ranking, and their strong technical training. At this year's Senior Awards Night, CCTI seniors were awarded over $90,000.00 in scholarships, cash awards, and gifts.

Many of the students at CCTI join various student organizations that help develop and enhance the soft skills that all employers are seeking. Through their involvement and participation in these organizations, students also develop leadership skills, organizational skills, communication skills and appreciation for the importance of community service. CCTI students must participate in 25 hours of community service to fulfill their graduation requirements. Many of them fulfill this requirement by their junior year as a result of their active involvement in these great organizations.

CCTI graduates have been accepted to these fine institutions:

Cedar Crest College, King's College, Lycoming College, DeSales University, University of Pittsburgh, Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology, Ohio Technical College, Bloomsburg University, Northampton Community College, Lehigh Carbon Community College, University of Northwestern Ohio, University Technical Institute, Johnson & Wales University, Lock Haven University, Antonelli College, South Eastern University of Florida, PA College of Technology, Lincoln Technical Institute, Art Institute of Philadelphia, East Stroudsburg University, Bradley Academy, York College of Technology, Penn State, Harrisburg Area Community College, Reading Area Community College, Johnson College, Kutztown University, Wilkes University, Robert Morris University, St. Luke's School of Nursing, California University of PA, Ozarks Technical Community College, Triangle Technical Institute, Culinary Institute of America, The Restaurant School, and Luzerne Community College.

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