Josh Bartell and Aaron Agosti start work on the Rotary Roaster as part of their Career Tech curriculum.
At a time when there is much concern about the replacement of Alaska’s aging work force as well as commitments for Alaskan hire from looming multi-billion dollar construction projects, the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Districts (KPBSD) Career and Technical Education program is stepping up to the plate. According to Walt Ward, KPBSD Work Experience & Work Force coordinator vocational education is going through a time of transition, “We’re moving away from the old traditional vocational education to the career and technical education which often does require some secondary training either at a local college or trade school, but not necessarily a four year degree,” explained Ward. Part of the new program is the Work Force Development Center at Kenai Central High School, “Here at the facility at Kenai we are offering capstone advance level programs. Students can get their beginning level feeder programs at their local high school on the Central Peninsula and then they can come over here for some of their advance level training, and at the advance level training we are hoping to offer either college credit or some type of certification so that when the student leaves here they will be job ready and prepared to go into the workplace,” said Ward.
In the building trades program the Center hopes to partner with Habitat for Humanity and possible assisting with the construction of cabins for the Forest Service as well as storage sheds and other buildings that will have community use. Last week a couple of Career & Tech-Ed students, Josh Bartell a junior from Skyview and Aaron Agosti a senior at KCHS went to work on renovating the old Soldotna Rotary Club Roaster which has been used for decades at public picnic functions throughout the community. “Fifteen or twenty years ago this roaster was originally created here in this shop and was used frequently for years, then it got parked and forgotten and deteriorated over the years until I located it six or eight years ago. Now with the new career and tech program here at KCHS I thought it would be a good opportunity to have a couple students see if they can resurrect the Rotary Roaster for another generation of community service,” said Soldotna Rotarian Jerry Near. Josh Bartell hopes to pursue a career as a heavy equipment operator but is looking forward to learning some welding techniques on the roaster under the supervision of instructor Matt Widaman. “It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think we’ll learn a lot from it and it’ll be a good experience. I enjoy the hands on experience and appreciate learning as I’m doing,” said Aaron Agosti.
To find out more about the KPBSD Career & Technical Education program go to www.kpbsd.k12.ak.us click on departments and career & tech.
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