2008-10-30 / Front Page

Vo-Tech Assessing Priority Jobs, Curriculum

By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Due to the ever-changing economy and job market, the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School is continuing its efforts to prepare area students for job opportunities not only in the area but the commonwealth through the preparation of a detailed listing of high-priority occupations.

In her executive director's report recently released to members of the vo-tech's Joint Operating Committee (JOC), Elizabeth Cheatle noted the majority of course offerings at the AVTS can directly lead to highpriority occupations at a regional or state level. As an example, students completing course work in welding technology would be more capable of obtaining a job as a welder, cutter or solderer in the state as well as the Southern Alleghenies region than a student studying horticulture and seeking future employment as a landscaper or groundskeeper.

In addition to jobs in welding, other high-priority jobs in the region include ag sales representatives, construction supervisors, mechanical drafters, architectural and civil drafters, bill and account collectors, customer-service representatives, receptionists, shipping and receiving clerks, secretaries, administrative assistants and insurance claims and policy processing clerks. In comparison, Cheatle further related hot jobs across the state, but not necessary in this region, include preschool teachers, childcare workers, healthcare support workers, bookkeepers and accounting and auditing clerks.

Even though the AVTS continues to monitor the job front for graduates planning on entering the workforce or moving into postsecondary schooling, Cheatle stated the votech is not currently interested in eliminating any existing programs such as ag production or mechanization. They are, however, Cheatle indicated, always searching for new programs that will aid the student body.

Under new scheduling adjustments, a student must complete three periods of AVTS course work daily during their sophomore, junior and senior years. Anyone taking less than the three classes daily are considered to be taking electives and cannot be counted as an AVTS student.

Currently, a total of 176 students are enrolled at the McConnellsburgbased AVTS. The numbers are consistent with 2007-08 enrollment numbers that were recorded at 177. Those figures, Cheatle said, represent 29 percent of the overall eligible student population in the county and are consistent with the statewide average of 27 to 34 percent.

Courses seeing the largest number of student participation are coop (39), allied health (23), welding (22), drafting and design (21), childcare (17) and ag production (16). The business occupation course has a total of five students enrolled, while no students are participating through the AVTS in ag mechanics or horticulture.

To increase the viability of their program and future success of their students, Cheatle noted the AVTS is taking steps to meet business certifications and industry standards in both the areas of building trades and welding. In fact, five design and drafting students are scheduled to take American Design and Drafting Association certification tests on December 19. Students passing the test will be reimbursed 50 percent of the $100 required to undergo testing.

In other business reviewed by the JOC, approval was granted to pay guidance counselor Christian Wahl to work an additional five days at the conclusion of the 2008-09 school year to prepare Perkins assurances. Wahl will receive a per diem rate of $215.39 for a total of $1,076.95. The additional time can be applied to Wahl's current overpayment due to a miscalculation in her 2007-08 salary.

In connection with their nurse aide instructor duties for the clinical portion of the CNA program at Fulton County Medical Center, Vonnie Miller and Amy Swank were approved to receive $22.55 and $20.80 per hour as previously budgeted. Furthermore, the annual clinical agreement was approved with Fulton County Medical Center as presented to the JOC.

Todd Wolford was granted authorization to mentor Elisa Ramsey, welding instructor retroactive to September 2008 through August 2009. Wolford is slated to receive a stipend of $500 for his duties.

In addition, Wolford was added to the list of adult education instructors in the area of drafting at the hourly rate of $20.

Linda Banks, Jessica Dovey, Jolinda Harkless, John Henry Sr., John Hodge, Cheryl and Frank Stearn, Brittany Frost, Debbie Duran and Deborah Remeikas were added to the substitute list pending the receipt of clearances.

Two students from the Tuscarora Blended Learning Charter School were added to the roster as tuitionpaying students retroactive to August 27. One student will be enrolled in childcare, and the remaining student will be taking allied health.

Approval was given to use up to $5,000 from the 2008-09 budgetary reserves as a match for the Ag & Rural Youth Grant. The funding has been earmarked for the Safe Program, and computers will be purchased so ag students have the capability to produce farm emergency response maps for local emergency responders.

An additional grant in the amount of $31,815 from the 2008-09

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