Career and Technology Center Spotlight
Cumberland Perry Area Career and Technical Center
“There are so many career paths you can go and the skills are provided through curriculum from the HBA and instructors at the CTC.”
Those are the words of Alenna Dingman, a sophomore enrolled in the Masonry program at the Cumberland Perry Area Career & Technical Center.
The CPACTC serves students in 13 school districts in Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties. Over 230 students are currently enrolled in four programs under the PBA Endorsed Trade Program – Carpentry (Will Fromm and Marc Kocher, instructors), Electrical Construction & Maintenance (Jason Baney, instructor), HVAC (John Pokrivka, instructor), and Masonry (Scott Weber, instructor). The Administrative Director is Justin Bruhn and the Principal is Lesli Shuman.
While COVID has hindered the ability to complete tasks required for hands-on learning over the past couple of school years, it has not diminished the interest and impact of students and faculty. The education provides the opportunity to work within a balanced curriculum with hands-on experience to learn the necessary skills to enter the workforce.
Students in the Electrical program want to learn motor controls and Masonry students are eager to work with natural and manufactured stone and telehandler training. Of course the current supply shortages have made it difficult to duplicate job site environments.
Alenna said that she has always been a hands-on learner.
“I attended the CPACTC Open House with my father and enjoyed all the creative projects made by students,” she said. “I love being creative so this seemed to fit well.”
Through the Endorsed Trade Program, Alenna will receive certifications, skills and experience, as well as the credentials so sought-after by employers. With this experience she hopes to move right into the workforce to complete stonework specialty structures.
Students who have graduated have already reaped the rewards of participating in the training. A senior Electrical student was International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Apprentice of the Year in his first year of the program. A Masonry graduate completed an apprenticeship with a local union and is currently training for a job supervisor position after only two years.
Program instructors are continuing to see growth in the program and may even need to expand it in the future. They stress the value of a CTC education because it’s the “best deal in time” providing free education to students along with tools for trade fundamentals. There is no need to attend college in order to achieve financial stability plus students learn an irreplaceable trade.
As with all the Endorsed Trade Programs, the local home builder association plays a big role in the students’ education. The students at CPACTC are supported by members of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Harrisburg.
Kristi Walsh, Executive Officer of the HBA of Metro Harrisburg, explained how the members of this local have been committed to the success of the program.
“We have 11 members, representing all different companies, sitting on the Occupational Advisory Committee,” she said. “These members do everything from providing in-class demonstrations and seminars, to providing mock interviews for students, hiring them as part of a co-operative program, hosting field trips, mentoring, and awarding scholarships.”
Now the local is working on a future Meet the Builder Day for seniors to establish some networking opportunities.
Once again, the value of a trade education is evident. The Cumberland Perry Area Career and Technical Center is an excellent example of the dedicated partnership between instructors and local home builder association members to train the future workforce. After seeing what students like Alenna and other have accomplished so far, we can all be sure that we are on the right track.
Cumberland Perry Area Career & Technical Center
110 Old Willow Mill Road
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
Administrator – Justin Bruhn
Principal – Lesli Shuman
Carpentry Instructors – Will Fromm and Marc Kocher
Electrical Construction & Maintenance Instructor – Jason Baney
HVAC Instructor – John Pokrivka
Masonry Instructor – Scott Weber
Why should PBA members get involved in their local CTC programs?
When the home building industry joins forces with the school and instructor it takes the program to a different level. Professionals have so much to offer these students – expertise in specific fields. Make a big deal about it, celebrate that student, you will eventually reap the rewards of doing so.
Some examples of how to participate include:
- Take on a student in a CO-OP program and give them an education on a real jobsite, no matter how well-intentioned an instructor is, that experience can’t be replicated in a classroom/shop setting.
- Take time to explain what you are doing, and why you are doing it the way you are.
- Join an Occupational Advisory Committee and help guide your local program to fit the needs of our industry.
- Local HBAs should invite local students to your association’s events.
- Give a scholarship to a student going to college, or a toolbox filled with tools to a student going directly into the workforce.
- Keep the instructor up to date on the latest and greatest tools, equipment, and materials.
If you are looking to support the future of the home building industry – as well as your company – please consider donating to the Pennsylvania Foundation for Housing. All proceeds go directly to the PBA Endorsed Trade Program. For more information, click HERE.