ATETV Episode 29:Alternative Paths to a Technical Career

This week, we look at alternative programs at community colleges that help high school students to get a head start on their studies — and others that are providing individuals with the opportunity to make career changes later in life.

In our first segment, we look at dual-enrollment programs, which enable high school students to earn college credits. Michael Bucklew, a student at Stark State College studying Electromechanical Engineering, took advantage of this option.

“I took a lot of my core classes while in high school,” explains Michael. “Through the early college program…I took a class learning about different types of energy, and thought it was interesting.” This early exposure helped Michael decide to pursue studies in Fuel Cell Technology at Stark State. “My dad’s an electrician, and he taught me how to enjoy working with my hands, how to build things and take them apart.” At Stark State, Michael is similarly learning the mechanics that lie beneath fuel cell technologies — by taking things apart and putting them back together.

“I would [eventually ] like to see myself working for NASA,” says Michael. And starting with Stark State’s dual enrollment program, Michael has taken his first step on a career path in Space Aeronautics.

In our second segment, we meet student Howard Drucker who, after 35 years running his own company, decided to forge a new career path — with the help of Sinclair Community College.

“I’m 58 years old, studying Architectural Technology and planning a second career,” explains Howard. “My friends were very impressed because quite honestly, they couldn’t believe that at my age I would go back to school. They didn’t think I could do it.”

Howard has not only proved his friends wrong, he’s found a whole new source of inspiration in his classmates at Sinclair. “I found my experience with the younger students very enjoyable. They’re bright, young, excited about getting started.”

Finally, in segment three, we look at a program that helps students find their way — literally and figuratively!

The Geographic Information Systems Technology Implementation Project courses at Del Mar College provides students with opportunities to learn the many applications of GIS and Geospatial Technologies.

” [Students studying GIS] can look at a wide variety of career possibilities,” explains Del Mar’s J.J. Nelson. “Agra, marine sciences, marketing, sales, law enforcement, communications — there’s a geospatial application to [all of these].”

And besides offering a multitude of industry choices, GIS also provides students with options in terms of the type of work environment they would like — whether it be indoors or outdoors, in front of a computer or at a park or a ball field. “When people need to know where things are in a world that’s getting smaller, geospatial technologies and GIS are the way to go,” says J.J.

No matter the course you decide to take, ATE centers can help point you in the right direction. And as this episode has shown, there’s more than one route to your final destination.

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