Porter County Career Center, other centers ready students for careers, college

2013-10-18T11:26:00Z 2013-10-19T22:14:25Z Porter County Career Center, other centers ready students for careers, collegeCarmen McCollum carmen.mccollum@nwi.com, (219) 662-5337 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Career and Technical Center and the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable sent out a survey to Porter County business owners to see how its graduates fare after school.

If the career center's record is anything to go by, PCCTC Principal JonĀ Groth said 100 percent of its manufacturing students are being employed immediately.

He said the career center generally has about 36 students in that program, with 20 graduating and employed each year through local companies.

"We have about 70 kids enrolled annually in our machine trades and electronics program; about 40 of those graduate in any given year," Groth said. "The machine trades students are in very high demand at companies like Task Force Tips and Urschel, PSC Machining and Custom Tool."

Most recently, 2013 Valparaiso High School graduate Paul Bui was hired by Fronius Corp., which has an office in the Portage Ameriplex industrial park. Fronius is an international company and world leader in welding technology, battery charging systems and solar electronics. Bui will receive training in Austria and later have a company car and other benefits.

Bui's instructor, Dave Kenning, said the classes at the career center exposed Bui to a variety of electronic and computer applications.

"He was able to participate in a roof-top solar installation, program and wire programmable logic controllers and use numerous types of electronic test equipment," Kenning said.

Groth and Valparaiso attorney William "Bill" Satterlee, who is vice chairman of the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable, said in addition to the survey, they hope to make local manufacturers aware of the career center. The surveys were sent out Oct. 14.

"While there might have been a negative impression of career centers in the past, they are doing a marvelous job of preparing students," Satterlee said.

The Porter County Career Center is open to students in Porter County, as well as those in the School City of Hobart. Other Lake County students may attend the Gary Area Career Center or Hammond Area Career Center. The School City of East Chicago offers career technical education courses, some of which are dual-credit.

The Gary Area Career Center recently re-established its welding program. Teacher Harry Miller said they exceeded their goals with 44 high school students registered for classes.

The Hammond Area Career Center offers a variety of technical classes, cosmetology, culinary skills, construction technology and other programs, allowing students to obtain a job immediately after graduation.

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