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Adult Technical Center serves area students, industry

March 4, 2011

MARIETTA The Adult Technical Center at the Washington County Career Center continues to adapt its programs to the community's changing needs.

"We tend to go with demand," said David Combs, director of programs for the school.

Over the past year the school has added and expanded programs based upon that demand, including the certified personal trainer program and the chemical technician program. In particular the technician program has been in response to the needs of the industry, he said.

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Washington County Career Center students march into their graduation ceremony in May.

"We're starting to see some growth in that area," he said. "Our coordinators are really in touch with the industry. We try to design programs to meet their needs."

Though for years the chemical industry saw a decline in production, Combs said that has changed in recent years, and the Adult Technical Center was in a perfect position to step up.

"We are kind of prepared to meet that need," he said.

Other areas of growth have been in the health care technician industry, which Combs said has been rapidly growing.

The center also still helps industry train or re-train existing employees, he said.

"They are wanting people to wear multiple hats," Combs said. "Some of what we do is skills gap analysis, to see what areas are not being addressed. You might have someone who has been in a job for 15 years and things have changed, or they may need to freshen up their math skills. It just varies so much. Things change very quickly here."

The school serves about 300 students, though Combs said that number can change dramatically as students pick up single classes or take short-term, highly intensive courses.

"We do so much customized programming its hard to keep an accurate number of students," he said. "It easily can go up to 500 over the period of a month or two."

The school also has portable classrooms, large trailers outfitted with the necessary equipment to go on-site for a short period to help with employee training. Though the trailers were purchased by the school years ago, Comb said in recent years the demand for mobile classrooms by local industry has spiked.

"That saves the companies again on the cost of travel and time lost by employees during training," he said. "We are seeing a lot more demand in that area."



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