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Schuylkill County Technology Center is ‘PA Smart’

FRACKVILLE, Pa. -- A representative from Governor Tom Wolf's office toured the Schuylkill Technology Center in Frackville Tuesday afternoon to show the state's support for the vocational school.

The Schuylkill Technology Center offers about 20 different vocational programs to high school students in Schuylkill County.

The governor's office wanted to tour the facility because it highlights one of the governor's initiatives to get more people into the workforce.

Students at STC prepared lunch for a special guest: Eileen Cipriani, the deputy secretary of the state's Department of Labor and Industry.

"This is like the basics. Everything I learn here I can apply to what I want to go for in college," said student Nickolas Kies.

The students have the opportunity to learn and become certified in nearly two dozen pre-professional courses like masonry, auto tech, and carpentry.

Kies is a student in the STC's health careers program.

"They can leave here with their CPR and first aid certification. They can leave with their nursing assistant certification. They can leave with their direct care assistant certification," said health careers instructor Michelle Chicora.

The staff at STC says enrollment has gone up the last three years as vocational programs have become more popular.

"That's an exciting opportunity for us as the business industry has been telling us that there are a lot of job openings available locally," said Stacey Minahan, STC South Campus assistant principal.

STC falls in line with the governor's PA Smart program, which strives to get students the training they need to get them a good-paying job straight out of high school.

"We're trying to highlight the great benefits of going the route of career and technical education to find a job. They have great co-op programs where students are out working while they're getting their education," said Cipriani.

Kies plans to go to college after he graduates, but he says that having the skills he's learning at STC will help him be more prepared.

"You basically do everything that you would do at the job site, so it just gives you like, are you sure you want to do this?"

The staff says this visit from the governor's office couldn't come at a better time. This is the center's 50th anniversary.