The Conewago Valley School District’s Colonial Career & Technology Center (CTC) is being hailed as one of the most innovative vocational facilities in Pennsylvania. That’s because the district’s new $5.2 million center is geared towards meeting Pennsylvania’s skills gaps in the workforce, by equipping today’s students with those very skills.
“During this week’s National Manufacturing Week, we salute the Conewago Valley School District and Superintendent Russell Greenholt for the creativity, foresight and community partnerships which will undoubtedly benefit the Adams County and South Central Pennsylvania Region’s workforce, employers and economy for years to come,” says Robin Fitzpatrick, Alliance president.
Currently open to several hundred Conewago Valley students, the CTC will soon be accepting students from across Adams County as an extension of the Adams County Tech Prep program based at Gettysburg High School. The CTC will also begin serving as a training facility for adults in the near future.
The 25,000 square foot facility includes 14,000 square feet of new construction recently added to the high school.
Some of the CTC’s areas of focus include Welding, Mechatronics, HVAC, Robotics, Hydraulics, Metal and Machining, Construction Trades and Graphics. The district is currently working with HACC so students enrolled in welding can earn College in the High School credit and those enrolled in Mechatronics courses can apply coursework necessary for a HACC Mechatronics degree.
The most challenging part of the two-year project, according to Greenholt, was locating the best machinery and equipment in order to provide students with real-life skills transferrable to actual employers. Local businesses contributed more than $2 million for the facility’s equipment.
“The systems are exactly what businesses use, so that we’re training students on the exact skills needed and used in the workplace,” Greenholt says. “There is no way we would have realized our goal without the expertise and generosity from our local businesses.”
He personally consulted with numerous area businesses, including manufacturers Conewago Enterprises, Ox Industries and Yazoo Mills.
“The Department of Labor and Industry has told us we’re the only public high school in Pennsylvania doing a project of this magnitude,” Greenholt says. “We have to change the paradigm of what a high school diploma means today.”
The New Oxford Social Club donated computers and software for the CTC’s Innovation Lab. It features unique 4-D computers used by students K-12. For example, biology students access a medical program that allows them to see the human heart and all of its components, rotated from every angle, to examine how its chambers, blood flow, veins and arteries all function.
Conewago Valley is currently the largest district in Adams County in terms of student population. Greenholt says 160 Conewago Valley students are currently signed up for the welding program alone, effectively filling the program.
Greenholt recently gave a tour of the facility to Alliance President Robin Fitzpatrick and Vice President Kaycee Kemper. To see an album of photos from that visit, along with additional details, see the Alliance’s Facebook page today.