At Home in Berks April 2017 - 27

HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

RMCTC is a hidden gem in our community. In my travels
among our sponsoring school districts and in speaking with
parents as well as business owners, I am finding that many
have heard our name, but are not knowledgeable about who
we really are and what opportunities we have to offer. When I
begin to share information about RMCTC I receive common
responses such as "I didn't know that," "Really!", "Things have
changed since I've attended there," and "Why didn't anyone
share this before with me?" While the prospects are growing
for our students, unfortunately our enrollment is dropping, especially in the construction fields, over the past 10 years. Programs such as Cabinetmaking have been forced to close due to
low numbers and other programs have found themselves in a
similar predicament and are destined to follow the same path
if no radical change transpires. One of the major efforts that
RMCTC has put in place to boost and attract students was to
create my unique position which allows for the travel flexibility
to bring RMCTC to students, parents, and the community in
order to increase the visibility and recognition of the opportunities that RMCTC offers.
With the new focus and the creation of my position, there
has been a positive shift in the role that RMCTC is playing in
Berks County. Currently, RMCTC has been invited to serve
on the Reading School District's Career Pathways Advisory
Committee and on Reading Area Community College's committee to plan next year's Manufacturing Day, where our local
manufacturers visit to share unique employment and educational opportunities to both adults and high school students.
We have also been invited to present to parent associations
and to faculty members of our sponsoring districts in an effort
to increase awareness and to debunk myths that have harmed
our mission. Building a strong relationship with parents and
teachers is essential as they come in daily contact with students, establishing a solid rapport, and therefore, have a huge
influence on students' futures. Additionally, our career and
technology center is working closely with the Berks County
Workforce Development Board and Reading Area Community
College to help and develop those priority skill sets needed in
Berks County.
We are also working tirelessly to develop a career curriculum
based on our career programs to bring into the middle schools.
Many times students are not aware of or knowledgeable about
what our career programs entail, such as Machine Shop Technology or Engineering and Automation Technology, which is
why exposure is vital. Another initiative we have also started is
the Shadowing Career experience which has truly transformed
the exposure that prospective students have to individual program offerings. This new immersive experience allows students
to spend half a day at our facility in the particular program
of interest so that they get a feel of what it's like to attend
RMCTC. This is also a great opportunity for them to meet the
instructors and work side-by-side with our current students on
projects directly related to their career interests. Once students
gain this new knowledge, they are better equipped to make
sound post-secondary decisions.

While all these efforts and initiatives are bringing about positive outcomes, we are still far from reaching our enrollment
goals. We are reaching out to the community, specifically
our local businesses, to take an active role to help us build a
talented pipeline so we can continue to support your businesses and industries. We would be at a loss without the Home
Builders Association of Berks County, which has been a huge
advocate and an outstanding pillar for our construction career
program clusters through their active student chapter, mentoring programs, shadowing opportunities, and facilitated job
placements. According to the Berks County Workforce Development Board, construction accounts for approximately 8,000
local jobs. Furthermore, local road and bridge construction
projects that have been initiated in 2015-2016 are responsible
in assisting the local commercial construction sector from
finally recovering since the recession. However, residential
construction is slowly improving. Combine these facts with
our drop in enrollment, and the future for our construction
businesses does not look promising. The demand for new
young employees is there, but the supply has become limited.
We are calling all businesses, industries, and associations to
foster partnerships with RMCTC to help establish outreach
programs similar to those of the Home Builders Association
and to aid in building a healthy Berks County economy.
Continued on page 28


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of At Home in Berks April 2017

At Home in Berks April 2017 - 1
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