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Calling on skilled-trade businesses

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The local career and technical education (CTE) school is holding an open house 6-8 p.m. March 7 to showcase the way its programs transform into real careers with better-than-average pay.

But for now, UniTec Career Center officials are hoping the Parkland’s employers will join them in helping them share that career information, and to help show off the lucrative careers that can be had in the skilled trade fields.

Lindsey Matthews, career education counselor for UniTec, said the UniTec Career Showcase night is not only a way to welcome interested adults and high school students to find out more about the trade school’s programs and maybe even enroll, it’s an excellent way for local businesses to show off the work they do and to recruit future employees.

“Here at UniTec we are proud to partner with local and regional employers. We have welcomed tremendous growth in our advisory committees and communication with area employers, with our Showcase Night being a gateway to the growth,” she said. “Our mission here at UniTec is to network with industry and identify needs, then develop skilled training that will create employees who are ready, willing and eager to put their skills to work.”

Matthews said businesses interested in meeting the next generation of employees are welcome to set up information booths to present their business mission information and application processes, or just to be present for visitor inquiries, from 6-8 p.m., March 7, at the UniTec Career Center located at 7163 Raider Rd., Bonne Terre.

“Our Showcase night is meant as a way for students to learn local employment opportunities. Many of our students have already determined whether they plan to attend post-graduation CTE training or if they will enter directly into the workforce after graduation,” Matthews said. “They are interested in discussing wages, benefits, working conditions, etc.

At the same time, I hope our industry guests are able to use this evening as a recruiting tool for future employees.”

Matthews added, the whole evening is open to the public and community members of all ages and no registration is required to visit. UniTec classes are not just for high school students in the sending school districts — adults can also take classes.

For more information or to register a booth, employers can contact Matthews at 573-431-3300 ext. 7, or lmatthews@ncsd.k12.mo.us.

Matthews said UniTec’s 12 programs will be showcased that night: Automotive Technology, Collision Repair Technology, Construction Technology, Culinary Arts, Digital Media, Electrical Technology, Graphic Design/Communication, Health Services, Machine Tool, Pathways to Teaching, Project Lead The Way: Engineering & Design, PowerSports Equipment Technology, and Welding Technology.

Matthews said so far this year, UniTec has served nearly 35 adult learners and 465 high school students. juniors and seniors from the sending-school districts of Bismarck, Central, Farmington, Fredericktown, Kingston, North County, Potosi, St. Paul and West County high schools. Any adult also interested in enrolling in the programs can attend that night, and can call UniTec’s Adult Education Office at 573-431-3300 for more information.

UniTec has been expanding its offerings and its physical plant of late.

Last year, the 52-year-old vocational school added a teaching preparation program, and it’s in the process of building an 8,000-square-foot annex to house its welding and robotics programs, and to also benefit its construction and power sports programs.

The physical plant hadn’t been expanded much since the main buildings were completed in 1971, and a technology building was added in 2003.

Late in November, Gov. Mike Parson announced UniTec Career Center as one of about two dozen career and technical education institutions in the state to receive a Missouri’s Area Career Center Opportunity (MACCO) Grant to expand or develop their programs. UniTec was in the majority that received the full $400,000 funding, made possible by American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“Career and technical education is critical to our workforce development goals here in the State of Missouri,” Governor Parson said at the time. “Every day the necessity for a post secondary degree, trade, or industry recognized credential is growing for good-paying jobs across the state, and we want to support Missourians as they seek to learn new skills, especially in our career and technical education programs.”

Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or shaas@dailyjournalonline.com.

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