CTE Centers, Industry Partners Creating Career Pathways for Students

CTE Centers, Industry Partners Creating Career Pathways for Students

One of the value propositions behind Career and Technical Education (CTE) in New Hampshire is to provide hands-on learning for high school students, an objective that often involves industry partners.

“We work with industry to create real work opportunities for students,” said Rich Paiva, Career Development Coordinator at Wilbur H. Palmer CTE Center, who helped launch an internship program in welding two years ago.

This program involves Spraying Systems Co. in Merrimack. 

“Before the pandemic, we had students tour their facility during Manufacturing Month in New Hampshire,” explained Paiva. “The students met the welders and were able to ask questions.”

One student, Shea Williams, found some answers.

“Between the program and the tour, he realized this was the career path for him,” said Paiva.

This realization led to a conversation with Joe Ruelas, Vice President Operations at Spraying Systems Co., and ApprenticeshipNH.

“We had to work out some details and how we could combine our program with the time spent at Spraying Systems so Shea could earn high school credits while over there,” explained Paiva. 

This creative arrangement enabled the hours Williams spent in the welding program to roll over into a full apprenticeship at Spraying Systems after he graduated from school last June.

“Spraying Systems is now sending him to Manchester Community College for an Associate’s degree,” Paiva said. “It is going great.”

Ruelas agreed.

“Shea has done very well for us,” he noted. “He has willingly accepted being trained on everything. He has a good work ethic and, most importantly, works well with others. He will one day be a good welder, hopefully, for our company.”

Citing his working relationship with Paiva as a big reason why Spraying Systems Co. developed apprenticeships, Ruelas said there are several advantages to creating them.

“One is to provide students the opportunity to learn a trade or skill in manufacturing,” he explained. “The other is to create and maintain a culture at our company of passing on knowledge to less experienced people and people who strive to learn more. The last one is to help improve the community.”

As for how his apprenticeship experience has been at Spraying Systems, Williams said it “has been awesome.”

“I am able to learn lots about my chosen trade of welding,” he said. “I am also being trained how to do many other procedures in manufacturing, such as sandblasting, pressure testing, and even some machining. I enjoy the company of my coworkers, and I enjoy the work I do.”

The experience for Williams is priceless.

“The best part of the apprenticeship is being able to get up in the morning and do something that I enjoy doing and can take pride in,” he said. “Welding is something that I enjoy putting a great deal of effort into, and being given the opportunity to learn and get job experience at the same time is something I am certainly grateful for.”

According to Paiva, Williams’ experience is “a textbook example of CTE.”

“We are here to help students explore career pathways, and Shea’s experience is possible through innovative partnerships with external stakeholders and industry,” he said. “Everyone benefits with CTE.”

Wilbur H. Palmer CTE Center is one of nearly two-dozen CTE centers throughout the state of New Hampshire.

Students Excel at NH Invitational

Students Excel at NH Invitational

In March, dozens of students came together to compete in the categories of Culinary and Management at the New Hampshire ProStart State Invitational.

Mount Washington Valley Career & Technical Center (MWVCTC) won in the Culinary category while Pinkerton Academy took first in Management.

According to Amie Pariseau of the New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association (NHLRA), however, the story is not going to continue in the way everyone expected.

“Our first place winners were invited to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington D.C. in May, but COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the regional and national invitational events,” she said.

All is not lost, though, noted Pariseau, who cited several rewards for the student.

“The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation will be providing a gift card worth $150 to each state’s first place culinary arts and restaurant management team members,” she said. The foundation will also be offering a $1,500 scholarship to the 2020 graduating ProStart seniors on each state’s winning teams.”

Acknowledging NHLRA shares in the disappointment of the teachers and their students in not being able to experience the Nationals and visit D.C., Pariseau said it does not lessen the students’ achievements.

“NHLRA is working with both schools of the winning teams to provide a way to celebrate their accomplishment with their team and families in some way this summer,” she said. “We’re very proud of them and want to recognize them for their commitment and dedication.”

This commitment and dedication, she said, led to “impressive performances at the ProStart State Invitational.

Kaylee, Jaime, Riley, Tristan and Sierra from MWVCTC created a menu that featured: an appetizer of crispy calamari and lemon served with harissa aioli and chermoula oil; an entrée of moroccan rubbed rack of lamb with pomegranate reduction, lemon-cilantro vinaigrette tossed with rainbow fingerlings, and sautéed vegetable hash; and a dessert of vanilla bean panna cotta served with grapefruit and brown sugar caramel and topped with spiced pistachios.

“They executed this high-level menu in 60 minutes using only two butane burners, no running water, and no electricity,” said Pariseau. “That’s incredible. We were very fortunate to have executive-level and ACF certified chefs as judges, all of whom said the caliber of the menus and the execution by our ProStart students was outstanding.”

In the management category, Pariseau said John, Lily, Angelina, and Matthew from Pinkerton Academy designed Wild Bamboo, an Asian restaurant devoted to the environment and sustainability.

Their menu featured a dumpling soup, bibimap (a Korean rice dish topped with beef sautéed vegetables and a fried egg), duck (statler duck breast seared with the skin on, paired with bamboo rice and a tat soi-mushroom sauce, beef (sliced flank steak sautéed with onions, served with a side of fresh vegetable), and a steam cake.

“The judges were highly impressed by their QR coupon code and the website they designed from scratch,” she said. “We were fortunate to have judges from all facets of the industry. Many of them were ready to hire our very talented students on the spot based on their ideas, creativity and presentation skills.”

Pariseau said competing students will also receive a variety of scholarships from Great Bay Community College, Lakes Region Community College, NHTI, White Mountains Community College, Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America.

“Despite COVID-19, there are a lot of positive takeaways for the future from this year’s ProStart State Invitiatonal,” added Pariseau.

To learn more about ProStart, visit https://www.nhlra.com/nhprostart.html.

‘Cooking Up’ Success

‘Cooking Up’ Success

For young people looking to get their foot through the proverbial door of the culinary industry, there may be no better opportunity than the Cook Apprenticeship Program at Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery in Raymond.

“We have tailored this program to coincide with the training for our cook position,” explained Tuckaway Tavern’s Assistant Executive Chef Jen Hiller.

Standards in the program, she continued, were made to train apprentices to work on different preparation and cooking techniques as well as equipment safety and knowledge of various cooking vessels, minor management of staff and health code laws.

“We train these individuals for 6,000 hours over the course of 3 years with on the job training as well as relevant schooling,” she added.

As for whom is targeted by the program, Hiller said it is particularly beneficial for those in high school or freshly graduated individuals looking to enhance and further their respective culinary interests.

“With completion of this program, we would ideally hire right away given the path the apprentice chooses,” she said. “Our program coincides with our business so hiring these individuals after would be a definite plus for us.”

Regrading the rationale behind the program, Hiller said they developed it as a support system for those considering culinary as a future career.

“This program opens up the initial world of cooking to those interested and provides support in the form of mentors,” she said. “We want to give young people the most attentive training possible with attention to detail throughout the entire process.”

The program, Hiller noted, makes business sense from an employer’s perspective.

“It is beneficial for us as employers to be able to train someone for the exact position that fits our company and the goals we have as a whole,” she said.

Developed and implemented within the past year, the program currently employs one apprentice.

“She is eager to learn the process and details needed to become a cook and all the branches we offer here with that position,” said Hiller. “This is a great stepping stone for her to fine tune what road she would like to take at the Tuckaway come the end of this program with us.”

Hiller also cited the program helps to meet civic responsibilities.

“As a business, it is also great knowing that she has proper training preparing her for whatever path she chooses,” she said. 

In looking to the future, Hiller said it is their hope to take on another apprentice within the next year.

“We are in the works of developing a manager training program and excited to start that process, too.”

To learn more about Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery, visit https://www.thetuckaway.com.

Engineering The Future

Engineering The Future

At Milford High School & Applied Technology Center (ATC), educational experiences in Engineering has opened up possibilities for several students, including junior Veronica Sillerico and senior Matthew Hannon.

“I took Engineering Design to get a better idea of what a career in engineering would be like in my first year of high school,” said Sillerico.

She also participated in the school’s Manufacturing and Externship Program in which three companies–Spraying System, Alene Candles, and Hitchner–work collaboratively to engage students in both educational and working environments.

“I plan to take the Externship Program for next semester,” added Sillerico, who said program at ATC attracted the attention of Congresswoman Annie Kuster last year.

“She visited the school and spoke with students, teachers, the companies involved, and four ambassadors to speak with her at a roundtable discussion, myself included,” she said. “After the meeting, I asked the Vice President of Spraying Systems if I could take a summer internship at the company, which he accepted.”

Sillerico noted she had “a remarkable experience there,” which has led her to seriously consider pursuing a Mechanical Engineering or Computer Programming career.

For Hannon, his aspiration is to earn a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Although he plans to attend Virginia Tech, he has also been accepted at Norwich University and SNHU. 

“For a long time, I was looking into aerospace/aeronautical engineering but thought that Mechanical was broad enough that I could apply it to many different fields,” he explained. “I feel that I gained a lot of experience in Mechanical Engineering through the Robotics class I took sophomore year.”

This class, he said, incorporated a lot of problem solving and technical skills that helped intensify his interest in the subject.

“One of my favorite projects was this ‘Crain Robot’ that me and my partner, Jack Vogel, had to build in Robotics,” he said. “I thought it was one of the more difficult robots to build and code and therefore was, in my opinion, the most fun to build.”

Aside from her work in school, Sillerico has pursued other pathways, one of which includes her recent acceptance to BAE’s Women in Technology Program.

“I also wrote an ELO ad campaign developed by Cookson Communication for a Work Based Learning event at Manchester Community College,” she added.

In looking ahead to the future, Hannon said his experience at ATC has helped him appreciate an important concept.

“Failing is going be a part of the learning process,” he said. “Honestly, it makes succeeding all the more amazing when it finally happens.”

Sillerico added, “In this program, I have met new people and learned new ideas and acquired soft skills that I believe impact me as a person and eventually will bring forth greater opportunities.”

Students on the Right “Career Path” in CTE

Students on the Right “Career Path” in CTE

Students on the right “career path” in CTE

While Career and Technical Education (CTE) has garnered more attention in recent years, much is still misunderstood about it.

“CTE is not a lower level of education,” said Samara Holmes, current student at Seacoast School of Technology (SST). “Technical schools and entering ‘the trades’ have a bad reputation that shouldn’t be looked down upon.”

According to Holmes, SST has provided her and other students with the ability to earn college credit, and practice the real world application of learned skills.

“These are opportunities that wouldn’t be given to any other regular high schooler,” she added.

Fellow SST student McKayla Hartman agrees and cited several examples, one of which includes taking the Autodesk Inventor Certification Test in May, which she said will give her “a head-start to achieving [her] career goals.”

A current sophomore at Newmarket High School and in her second year of SST’s Pre-Engineering program, Hartman already has her sights set high. For her, the sky may not even be the limit.

“My main interest is exploring a career as a flight engineer and eventually working for NASA in the aerospace department,” she said. “I hope to maybe even become an astronaut and explore extraterrestrial life on other planets.”

She cited her enrollment in SST’s Pre-Engineering program as an important step toward that goal.

“I have been able to explore multiple engineering disciplines and discover my love and dedication to aerospace engineering,” she said. “I have been introduced to people who have similar aspirations as me, which have, in turn, allowed me to form many wonderful friendships, too.”

Holmes, a junior at Exeter High School who is currently in SST’s Computer Science program after finishing the Pre-Engineering course last year, cited a similar experience.

“SST helped me discover what career path I should follow,” she said.

Noting she has always been interested in “computing and creating,” Holmes acknowledged she was not sure if such interests could necessarily translate into a career.

“When I entered the engineering program freshman year, I was able to learn more about the types of engineering fields I could enter,” she said. “It helped me narrow down what I wanted to do.”

Hartman and Holmes not only share similar interests, they had the chance to work together this year on a project that garnered several accolades.

At the New Hampshire Science and Engineering Exposition on March 21, the students earned the Yale Science and Engineering Award and a $2,000 scholarship each to the New Hampshire Academy of Science.

For their teacher Vaso Partinoudi, the recognition was well-deserved given that the project focused on 4D printing and the fourth dimension, which refers to transformation over time or through a change in conditions.

“As soon as I looked at the poster Samara and McKayla created for this project, I knew they were going to place [at the exposition] – it was college level,” she said. “No one has heard of 4D printing, which is also how I knew they’d place. The judges were looking for the unexpected.”

As for the specifics, the project entailed submerging a 3D printed object into hot water to see if it would transform into another shape without human intervention. Hartman and Holmes also looked at how layering different materials on top of one other would be affected by the hot water.

The method for altering these structures can have real-world applications in the fields of engineering, robotics, medical, aerospace and others.

“We’re proud of the work we did,” Hartman said. “When we learned we got the special award from Yale, we started jumping up and down.”

“It’s pretty cool because we didn’t really expect that we’d win,” added Holmes.

On March 30, Holmes and Hartman secured additional recognition, as they both received awards in the Aspirations in Computing ceremony from the National Center for Women in Technology.

Expressing excitement at the recognition both students have received in recent weeks, Partinoudi said the real takeaway is how CTE helps inspire students to broaden their horizons.

“Winning the awards was the icing on the cake,” she said.

Accolades aside, Holmes said she is excited for her future and said her ability to direct herself is a skill she directly attributes to her CTE experience.

“Being able to know what you need to do, what you want to do, and combining those to achieve those goals is a skill that I will use in any aspect of my life,” she said. “High school has definitely been where I have achieved most of my goals because of self direction. I would not be as independent and prepared for life as I am right now without SST.”