By Glenna Cannon, Superintendent
Since we opened our doors over forty years ago, Pioneer Career and Technology Center has been preparing students to become vital members of the workforce. We want to be an asset to the community that we serve, so we made it our mission to deliver innovation and excellence in education by providing real skill and real knowledge for real world success.
We measure our growth on the previous year’s graduating class. 88.8% of our graduating class of 2012 is employed, attending post-secondary education or are serving in the military. This number has steadily increased over time. I think this is a testament to how truly successful our students are.
With a large portion of the graduates staying in the community, our area businesses benefit from hiring industry-experienced students. One example of this is Todd Oswalt, a 2002 Pioneer graduate. Todd was a student in the CAD Technician Program and took advantage of our articulation agreement with North Central State College. That let him graduate from high school with over 30 college credit hours and bypass several entry-level college classes. Todd used the jump-start to earn an Associate Degree in Mechanical Engineering from NC State College in 2004. He now works at MTD, in Shelby, as an engineering technician.
Working closely with local job employers helps us customize our curriculum to be relevant to the real-world environment. We are currently working with Mid-Ohio Pipeline Services Welding Center to make sure the students that receive certifications in welding are learning the most up-to-date techniques. We recognize that skilled welders and laborers are in need for the growing gas pipeline industry.
Pioneer is also committed to strong fiscal management and we pride ourselves on keeping costs low—everyday. Lean budgets are maintained while protecting the integrity of the classroom. The staff looks at ways to cut costs on a daily basis.
Each year Pioneer students volunteer to perform a service project for the community that can include cleaning, renovating, and painting local buildings as well as sprucing up parks and community gardens. We feel lucky to be a part of the community, and we are looking for ways to give back to the taxpayers to show our appreciation.
Pioneer is good investment for the community. Tax dollars are being spent on educating our skilled workforce, and in turn the community reaps the rewards of having marketable talent right here, in our own backyard.