Magazine article Techniques

AVTC Hosts TechnoCamp

Magazine article Techniques

AVTC Hosts TechnoCamp

Article excerpt

Hosting middle school students at a handson event is helping a technical school meet its enrollment goals while also giving young students a chance to explore career possibilities.

The Area Vo-Tech Center (AVTC) in Russellville, Arkansas, has seen its enrollment rise to the point that, for all practical purposes, most of the center's programs are at capacity. This sounds like a good problem to have. However, now is the time for the center to encourage enrollment based on the aptitude and interest level of the students enrolling in the various programs.

AVTC currently offers student enrollment in auto technology, computer engineering, cosmetology, construction technology, drafting technology, horticulture, hospitality management, industrial equipment maintenance, metal fabrication, medical professions and machine tool technology.

To accomplish the enrollment goal, many ideas were brainstormed, and two were finally chosen as new recruitment tools. The AVTC had been using a single-sheet, tri-fold brochure as its major print item for recruitment. The brochure was being done in-house and was getting "dowdy" looking in comparison to some print items being used by the local school districts. The center decided to commit to a professionally done eight-page booklet that will be mailed to parents and prospective students in AVTC's participating schools, and that will also be used in parent institutes, at open houses and at parent-teacher conferences. Additionally, the brochure will be placed around the communities served by the AVTC.

Summer Camp as Education

The second tool selected for recruitment targeted students at the middle school level. AVTC recently hosted its first TechnoCamp-an occurrence the center plans to make an annual event. The camp took place in early June, while technical instructors were still present. Each instructor was given the opportunity to offer a half-day camp session to a group of ll-to-14-year-old students recently out of school for summer break.

Students were enrolled in the local Boys and Girls Club, and as one Boys and Girls Club employee expressed: "This is our forgotten age group."

It was a gratifying experience to see these younger students being mentored by the high school-age SkillsUSA students of AVTC.

Students were offered sessions in computer engineering, horticulture, drafting technology, industrial equipment maintenance, automotive technology, hospitality management and metal fabrication. Every student had the opportunity to do hands-on activities and take with them from each session an item they had made, including a desktop computer from their session in computer engineering. …

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