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Not Your Grandfather’s Shop Class

February 6th, 2020


Career and Technical Education (CTE) prepares students for high-wage, high-demand careers. Lyndon Institute (LI) offers 11 half-day programs to help students become full participants in the economy and earn a livable wage in the Northeast Kingdom (NEK). As a comprehensive high school, LI links academic and technical education to the needs of the labor market, while giving students an economic edge in their careers. Because students learn in different ways, education needs to be tailored to individual needs. By using classroom learning, lab experiences, on-the-job learning, and certification programs, CTE at LI gives students a chance to exercise their skills both in and outside the classroom.

In 2017, over 5000 students in Vermont participated in CTE programs. 93% of them graduated from high school, and 94% left high school with technical skills that made them instantly employable. 88% of those students entered the workforce, joined the military, or participated in an internship.

Area employers have expressed concern about finding skilled talent. Many of the hardest-to-fill positions are in technical fields that would benefit from a background in CTE. Career and Technical Education offers students academic, technical, and employability skills. It connects hands-on experiences with classroom instruction.

In the NEK, there are 1,783 health care positions, many of which require some form of post-secondary education, such as an associate’s degree or certification. At LI, students in the Health Sciences program earn Licensed Nursing Assistant certification, as well as college credits for medical terminology and human biology.  Graduates of the program can continue their studies or can directly enter the workforce.

Manufacturing is another high-demand occupation in the NEK. There are currently 1,182 manufacturing jobs in the area, many of which are difficult to fill. LI exposes students to production systems, computer-integrated manufacturing, welding, and machining, combined with rigorous academics.

LI Automotive Instructor Dan Camber explains how CTE at Lyndon Institute shaped his career:

Having grown up in the countryside of the NEK, my formative experiences involved motorized transportation, from dirt bikes and ATVs to snowmobiles.

This interest in mechanized transport led me directly to the CTE courses LI offered in the late ’80s: Welding/small engines classes taught by Mr. Kirchoff, and then on to auto classes taught by Mr. Emery. Within two weeks of graduation, the aptitude I showed in auto class combined with Mr. Emery’s recommendation helped secure me a job in the local Ford/Chrysler dealership as an auto technician.

After 21 years working in the local auto repair industry and assorted connected industries, (warranty facilitator, parts associate, service advisor, machinist, RV parts manager, service and warranty manager), I had an opportunity to return to my alma mater as an instructor of the Automotive program.

I have tried to instill in my students a strong work ethic, a desire to learn, and a personal standard of organization and punctuality. These were the lessons I learned here at LI and in my career as an auto technician.

Even today, I feel my time here at LI, (both as a student and as a teacher), has expanded my horizons. My desire to learn and intrinsic drive has helped me to hopefully become a better teacher and mentor, an influential figure in my students’ lives.

Daniel Camber ‘90
Lyndon Institute Automotive Instructor

For more information about Lyndon Institute’s Career and Technical Education program, contact Director of Career and Technical Education, Jason M. Di Giulio, Ed.D. at [email protected].

Posted in the categories Front Page, Alumni.

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