What’s Right With Schools: Afterschool program provides students hands-on experience in various trades

Whats Right With Schools

MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A new afterschool program in Meriden is now adding to Connecticut’s growing workforce pipeline.

The program provides students with a hands-on look at different trades, possibly sparking an interest in a future career path. It’s a partnership between Meriden Public Schools and C-TECS, Connecticut Technical Education Career System.

“The Career Academy is a program that allows students from Meriden Public Schools to come to Wilcox Tech and take some classes after school,” Pat Ciarleglio, an education consultant for the Connecticut Technical Education Career System (CTECS) said.

The program runs through the school year, Monday through Thursday. There are three shops — collision repair, carpentry, and culinary.

“So, I think it all began with looking into what were some creative partnerships we could institute to help our students gain learning experiences outside of the regular school day,” Susan Moore, the director of technology for Meriden Public Schools, said.

It’s a partnership between Meriden Public Schools and C-TECS, Connecticut Technical Education Career System.

After the two-year program, students walk away with more than just experience. They also meet certification requirements in their given trade, providing a pathway to career tech opportunities.

“We hope they’re finding their passion for the career they want to do when they leave high school,” Moore said.

All Meriden students need to do is see their counselor and ask about Career Academy. Right now, there are 18 students in the program.

“We have a rotating group of students,” Moore said. “We take applications each year beginning in January.”  

The plan is to expand the Career Academy using the model in Meriden in other districts across the state.

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