Pickens County Career and Technology Center
The vision of the Pickens County Career and Technology Center is to build strong partnerships with industry, post-secondary schools, and our high schools to provide unimaginable opportunities for its students. Its mission is to give students the opportunity of discovery. PCCTC works with students to explore their talents and interests, and then match that with career opportunities. The faculty works diligently to prepare students for college and to foster the skills to enter a competitive workforce.
- Clemson University
- Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County
- Alliance Pickens
- JR Automation
- United Tool & Mold
- MST Concrete
- Blue Ridge Electric Co-op)
- THS Constructors
- Phillips Staffing
- Duke Energy
- Easley Combined Utilities
- Safeplast, North America
- Abbott Labs
- Parker Poe
Funding for the PCCTC is provided through the following:
- Local general fund budgets from the School District of Pickens County to provide salaries and instructional supplies
- State and federal funds support teacher professional learning, industry certifications, career and technology EIA, supplies, and equipment
- Local pupil activity funds to support student organizations and associated costs such as competition and travel expenses
- Clemson University’s Agriculture Education agreement to support salary of agriculture instructor(s)
- Donations and grants from community partnerships and fundraisers
- Individual donations of automobiles from community members to Automotive program
- Local law enforcement agencies donation of police cars to Law Education program
- Supplies and materials (i.e. steel from a company that relocated)
The Pickens County Career and Technology Center (PCCTC) is the hub of career readiness for students in the School District of Pickens County and key contributor to the county’s economic development. PCCTC serves students from all four high schools in the School District of Pickens County and provides opportunities that prepare them for a wide range of career options. Students can choose from over a dozen pathways that allow them to prepare for careers in the following areas: engineering; biomedical science; aerospace engineering; global supply chain logistics and management; health sciences; agriculture; arts, audio visual technology and communications; construction; hospitality and tourism; law enforcement and firefighting; manufacturing; marketing; human services; and transportation, distribution, and logistics. The interest and requests for enrollment in PCCTC is growing annually. Students enjoy the programs and learning experience resulting in a record-high enrollment of 1,445 students. Partnerships with local businesses offer students opportunities to participate in work-based learning experiences that enhance the knowledge and skills built in the classroom. The PCCTC partners with local businesses and ensures that these partners provide input into the career preparation programs. The business partners ensure PCCTC programs are preparing students for current business standards and practices.
Each year the PCCTC is evaluated by the SC Department of Education’s Office of Career and Technology Education using eight Perkins Performance Indicators. The Perkins Performance Indicators are a federal accountability system aimed at measuring how well careers centers prepare their students. These indicators are considered to be met when career centers meet established criteria. The PCCTC routinely meets all indicators. The indicators measure the following areas: academic attainment in reading/language arts, academic attainment in mathematics, technical skill attainment, secondary school completion, student graduation rates, secondary placement, nontraditional participation, and nontraditional completion such as participation and completion by students from demographic groups that are not traditionally well-represented in particular programs.
Research from the American Council for Career and Technology Education (ACTE) supports the mission and vision of the PCCTC. ACTE research finds that “high school students involved in CTE are more engaged, perform better and graduate at higher rates.” According to their findings, “Taking one CTE class for every two academic classes minimizes the risk of students dropping out of high school” and “the average high school graduation rate for students concentrating in CTE programs is 93 percent, compared to an average national freshman graduation rate of 80 percent.” The PCCTC’s 2017-2018 results show a graduation rate of 98.9% compared to the district’s overall average of 84.4% and SC’s average of 81%. ACTE research also indicates that “91 percent of high school graduates who earned 2-3 CTE credits enrolled in college.” In addition to courses offered at the PCCTC, students benefit from a strong dual enrollment partnership that allows them to earn college credit and begin the post-secondary education. PCCTC students who complete a concentration in a course of study have a 97.9% placement rate in post-secondary education, the workforce, or the military, exceeding the findings reported by the ACTE.
In addition to the strong evaluation results, the PCCTC has been recognized by local, state, and national news outlets for its contributions to the local economy. ACTE’s research also shows that a strong career and technology education program “addresses the needs of high-growth industries and helps close the skills gap.” The success of PCCTC was recorded in Nicholas Wyman’s Job U. Wyman focused on the critical role that technical high school and skill certifications play in offering an innovative skills oriented education. In the 2016 NY Times op-ed “Straight from the High School to Career,” the PCCTC was described as “an example of a school that works” based on the school’s success in helping students prepare for post-secondary education and careers. In 2016, PCCTC was also recognized in Reskilling America Learning to Labor in the Twenty-First Century. The details of the programs offered by the PCCTC are described as “What Industry Needs.” Furthermore, examples of the PCCTC’s contributions to the local economy continue to evolve. In 2017, The Charleston Post & Courier recognized the PCCTC as one of a limited number of schools in SC implementing an aerospace engineering program, and in April 2019, a new high-tech company in the aerospace industry joined the Pickens County Commerce Park and plans to partner with the PCCTC to train its employees. The partnership and support between local businesses and the PCCTC is strong and mutually beneficial to students and the community.
Yes, this program is fiscally sustainable. Ensuring the current level of funding and expanding funded when needed has been and will continue to be a priority for the School District of Pickens County’s leadership and Board of Trustees. The district’s mission is to ensure our students are prepared for college, career, and citizenship, and the PCCTC is one of our primary programs for addressing the needs of our students. The funds allocated to the PCCTC through the district’s general fund and through special revenue funds are stable.
Sharon Huff, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services, School District of Pickens County, firstname.lastname@example.org