Worcester Technical High School was in the spotlight this week when a privately-funded makeover was unveiled for its welding program. It was an occasion to demonstrate the wealth of learning opportunities available to students in a non-traditional learning environment.
Thanks to winning an online contest through the Channellock Trade School Trade-Up contest last year, the school’s welding workroom was retrofitted with thousands of dollars in new tools and equipment. The online contest featured schools from across the country competing against each other for a monetary prize. The contest was decided by online votes and the tech school was represented by a two-minute video created by welding students.
Representatives from the Channellock company were on site Tuesday when students were surprised with the welding shop transformation. Company officials were impressed with the school and stressed the importance of trade schools like Worcester Tech. It was pointed out the average tradesman today is 56 years old and how interest in the field of carpentry, automotive and heating and air conditioning fields, for example, has waned in recent decades. “What kind of world would we live in if we didn’t have skilled tradesmen,” asked Channellock representative Jon DeArment.
The tech school is a true jewel in Worcester County’s crown. It’s much more than just a school for many students. It offers an outlet for many students who may not excel in the classroom and may be looking for a trade of sorts for a career. The tech school offers courses in automotive technology, robotics, construction, masonry, cosmetology, culinary arts, horticulture, nursing, pre-engineering, computer science, interactive media production, hospitality management and much more. It offers students a wealth of avenues to pursue during their high school years.
The reality is there will be about 450 graduates from Worcester County public schools this spring. Traditionally, according to past surveys of graduates, about 80 percent of graduates either enroll in college of some sort or the military, leaving the remainder – about 120 graduates – planning to start work immediately. More than likely these young adults will be entering a trade, whether it be HVAC, automotive, culinary arts, carpentry or tourism.
This week’s unveiling of the new welding workroom was an opportunity to shine the light on what an asset Worcester Tech is for the community. That’s why when the new school was built more than 10 years ago it was a game changer in Worcester County. The modern and expansive facility was a massive improvement over the former career and technology center. Worcester Tech annually serves about 1,500 high school students in the county.
The significance of the school and its importance in shaping the education of student was not lost on State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon, who was on site for the unveiling this week.
“I think it’s probably one of the best models of a career and technology center we have in the state,” said Salmon.
We would agree with that sentiment.