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UniTec showcasing programs Feb. 25

UniTec showcasing programs Feb. 25

Cooking, construction, automotive, healthcare, broadcasting: They’re the kinds of careers that can’t easily be outsourced to other countries.

On Feb. 25, UniTec Career Center students and staff will be showing off these career possibilities and more from 6-8 p.m. at 7163 Raider Road in Bonne Terre. The public -- especially adults who want to sharpen their resumes, and parents of freshmen and sophomores – is invited to attend.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, trade school enrollment grew from 9.6 million students in 1999 to 16 million in 2014. And trade school enrollment continues to climb. With many certificates or degrees becoming attainable within two years -- or even less, and with college tuition continuing to rise due to diminished public funding, trade school options are becoming increasingly popular.

Lindsey Matthews, career education counselor for UniTec, said the evening is not just a recruiting tool for the local trade school, though. It’s also a way for students to show off their projects to their parents and guardians.

“As the Career Education Counselor, I am looking forward to meeting community members and sharing the possibilities that await anyone interested in pursuing a skilled trade career path,” she said. “And our Culinary Arts Department will have complimentary refreshments for visitors as well. This is a free event, and no registration or sign-ups are required.”

Matthews said her colleague, Billy Smith, who teaches Collision Repair Technology, brought up the idea of the UniTec Showcase Night.

Smith said he got the idea from an out-of-state trade school. “There was a career center in Wisconsin that had a night like this,” he said. “And I thought it would be a good idea to show off what we do here. So many people are unaware of the training we provide, and often, these are two-year programs or less, leading directly to good employment— often with good pay, at that.”

Matthews said local industries, who depend on a stock of well-trained employee, will also be on hand, including Desloge Fire Department, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1, US Tool, Gene's Auto Repair, Kevin Ball Auto Body, Griffin Automotive Design and Collision Repair, Unlimited Collision Center, Dale Mosier Autobody, and National Health Care.

“Visitors will have the opportunity to tour our shop areas and participate in hands-on activities at their leisure,” Matthews said, adding. “Post-secondary institutions such as Mineral Area College and Linn State Tech will be there to answer questions about transitioning from UniTec Career Center to post-secondary.”

Matthews said UniTec’s 13 programs will be showcased: Automotive Technology, Collision Repair Technology, Computer Service Technology, Construction Technology, Culinary Arts, Electrical Technology, Engineering and Robotics, Graphic Design/Communication, Health Services, Machine Tool Technology, PowerSports Equipment Technology, Radio/Television Broadcasting, and Welding Technology.

Any post-secondary/adult interested in enrolling in our programs can call UniTec’s Adult Education Office at 573-431-3300. Matthews said so far this year, UniTec has served nearly 50 adult learners and 450 high school students, juniors and seniors from sending schools Bismarck, Central, Farmington, Fredericktown, Kingston, North County, Potosi, and West County high schools.

She said the high school registration process is in full swing for the 2020-2021 school year.

“We have visited our sending schools, presented program information and are currently holding tours for high school students interested in attending UniTec next year,” Matthews said. “Post-Secondary/Adult day and evening classes are held year round.” She added that adult program tuition varies.

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


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