Changing Career Courses:HCCTC offers adult education courses in a variety of fields

By April Feagley

Daily News Staff Writer

Back-to-school season may have passed, but adults will have a second chance to hit the books with the announcement of upcoming classes at the Huntingdon County Career and Technology Center (HCCTC) in Mill Creek.
 
Courses to study for qualifications in phlebotomy, auto inspection and to become a nurse aide will begin Monday, Oct. 5, and a ServSafe class will begin Tuesday, Oct. 6. Registration must be completed prior to Monday, Sept. 28.
 

In addition to the recently announced courses, HCCTC also offers a commercial driver’s licence (CDL) program which runs on a rotating basis, along with the nurse aide courses.“We do get a large majority of individuals who are coming as a direct referral from Career- Link,” said Laura Hicks, adult education coordinator at HCCTC. “They are often at a point where they decide they need to start a new job or start fresh in a new career field. They may have been laid off from work and need assistance through CareerLink. Sometimes, they are just people who have been working in a field, but need to make a change.”
 
“The other classes, phlebotomy, state auto inspection and ServSafe, run at a minimum of in the fall and the spring of each year,” Hicks said. “This fall we do not have any additional enrichment classes, but we usually offer them in subjects like computers, photography and quilting. We’ll start them in the spring.”
 
Costs vary according to the coursework, the length of the class and the materials required. “Actually, for the nurse aide training and the CDL, students may actually be able to receive tuition assistance through CareerLink with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and the Trade Act,” she said.
 
Hicks said there are typically 10 students to a class, with the exception of the CDL course which is limited to three to four individuals because of space limits within the training truck.
 
“The CDL is a five-week course, so we can keep that one running back to back. Students are typically only looking at a five-week wait to get into the class,” Hicks said. “The nurse aide program is 120 hours. What we try to do is hold evening classes so it lasts a little longer, usually six to eight weeks.” Those students studying phlebotomy will undergo 150 hours of training, ServSafe, 16 hours, and state auto inspection, 12 hours. “They actually do two days of clinical work at J.C. Blair Memorial Hospital as part of the phlebotomy program,” she said. “Typically, the nurse aides do their clinicals at Westminster Woods.”
 
Most students show interest in the nurse aide and CDL programs, but there is growing interest in the other fields as well — especially phlebotomy. “There is a lot of opportunity in phlebotomy,” she said. “There are a lot of places making the shift to having a phlebotomist on staff in medical offices instead of sending the order out for labs. They want to be able to do a basic blood draw right on location. That makes our students very marketable.”
 
HCCTC’s staff works hard to network with the business community in order to help students connect with potential employers.
 
“There seems to be a good connection with these programs and the local business and industry. Often times, our nurse aide students have job offers prior to graduation night,” said Hicks. “With our truck driving program, we have recruiters who come into the class. I am working on partnering with CareerLink, Huntingdon County Business and Industry (HCBI) and the Huntingdon County Chamber of Commerce as well.”
 
The option to study locally for a shorter duration of time means those in need of training have access to job opportunities.
 
“Students have the opportunity to get in and get out,” she said. “They don’t have to completely put their lives on hold for a two- or four-year degree.”
 
April can be reached at afeagley@huntingdondailynews.com.