CLEARFIELD – Classes started for the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center only two weeks ago, and enrollment numbers are nearly stable for the 2007-08 school year.
CCCTC Executive Director Lois Richards told the CCCTC Joint Operating Committee Monday night that 372 students are registered currently, but it will take a few more weeks for the number to become static with late additions and deletions.
“It’s pretty close to what it was last year,” she said, noting that the 2006-07 registration was slightly higher.
One class, though, is seeing enrollment figures drop drastically.
The precision machining class had about 10 students prior to the start of the year. Now, the enrollment is at five students.
“The sad part is the employers are feeling like they need full-time workers and they’re not getting them,” Richards said.
JOC board policy is that if a program has less than 10 students, it will be temporarily closed. That will not happen for the 2007-08 year due to the fact that students had already signed up for the program. If a program is temporarily closed for two years, board policy is to permanently close the program.
The JOC heard ways the administration is working to ensure the program remains open.
One is to introduce i-bots to the class. This curriculum would allow students to manufacture all of the parts necessary for a robot. Richards said after the meeting that there is the possibility of the machining class working with the electronics class in the endeavor.
Richards said one factor that could have played against the precision machining program was the fact that ongoing construction at the CCCTC did not allow for a “big” project to show students when they came to tour the school. Richards also said after the meeting that students often are able to gain hands-on knowledge of other CCCTC offerings such as automotive tech, carpentry and culinary arts.
“It’s not something they can identify with,” Richards said of the machining program.
Several suggestions came from the board and administration including combining machining with another program or asking companies to help in recruiting future machinists.
The CCCTC JOC will next meet Oct. 8 with the work session at 6:30 p.m. and the regular meeting to follow.