They are regular schools. Students study, take tests and make friends. It is just a little more hands on.
Some students at Monongalia County Technical Education Center use what they have learned to go straight to work after graduation.
“The industry, the market is just waiting for these kids. They’ll not have much trouble at all finding gainful employment fresh out of high school,” said Jonathan Pollock, Monongalia County Technical Education Center principal.
Others use their college credits for higher education.
“Even more than that, we’re not just for career readiness. We have a percentage of students that come here for strengthening their college foundations. Certainly, in the health occupations side and some of our other programs, we have kids that want to come learn those hands on applications of knowledge and experience skills,” Pollock said.
Students interested in taking those skills to college might seek programs like those at Pierpont Community and Technical College, which offer multiple options.
“At the end of the day, if it’s your goal to get a four-year degree, you can come through us, get your two-year degree in a program, and then transfer and spend the remaining four-year school and still at the end of the day get that four-year degree with a cheaper price,” said Johnny Moore, Pierpont Community and Technical School president.
Many community colleges partner with local employers to ensure graduates are prepared for their specific field immediately after graduation.
Moore said it comes down to a matter of purpose.
“Four-year schools, in my opinion, prepare students to be thinkers and creators of jobs. Two-year schools provide students direct access to jobs,” Moore said.
And oftentimes, technical schools, both at the high school and college level, allow students to engage in material they’re genuinely interested in.
“We get to pick which class we go into. Since I like computers, I can pick a coding class or a graphic design class instead of having to sit and learn about things that don’t interest me,” said Luke Fletcher, MTEC senior.