GP2W: Pickens County Career & Technology Center

"GP2W" stands for Great Place To Work.  The four characters serve as a reminder in communication among our staff of the culture of our district. Each week through the school, our website will feature an article on one of our schools or departments explaining why their site is a Great Place To Work! 

by Heather Cummings and Jan Sparks

How does a school become a leader in career and technological education? A leader school must be innovative and dedicated to prepare students for the 21st Century. At the Pickens County Career & Technology Center we work hard to add value to each student's high school diploma by preparing them for life after high school, whether that is going to college, joining the military or going straight into the workforce in the career of their choosing. Our CTE completers take WorkKeys (and have for the past 4 years), develop portfolios, experience job interviews with actual business and industry representatives, participate in College Application Day, have the opportunity to receive nationally recognized certifications in their program area, and develop the soft skills valued in the working world, all with the support of our community partnerships.

The CTC has built strong partnerships with industry, post-secondary schools, and our high schools to provide a wealth VEX Robotics Competition.jpgof opportunities for all of our CTC students. Ken Hitchcock, Director of the Pickens County Career and Technology Center, said that "the CTC is a primary source of work force development and career discovery. We work closely with our high schools, local industries, colleges, and economic development agencies to provide a skilled work force to help Pickens County to continue to prosper."

Needs of the 21st Century

The CTC classes are innovative and geared towards the careers of the 21st Century. Many of the CTC seniors leave us with co-ops, apprenticeships, scholarships and jobs with local businesses. Local companies and community leaders visit the school often and are active on each of our programs' advisory boards. Our Career and Technology Student Organizations (CTSO's) offer students the opportunity to compete with students from across the state and nation, as well as the opportunity to develop leadership skills. Our students compete in state Skills USA, FFA, and HOSA competitions and win, many advancing to national competitions.

In addition to our 19 Career and Technology Education (CTE) programs, we offer 8th through 12th graders the C3 Program, giving students a chance to complete graduation requirements here on our campus in a smaller, supportive environment while gaining the soft skills valued by business and industry. The C3 Program helps students become college, career, and citizenship ready. For the last two years, our STEEP program has given students who will finish with a high school certificate a chance at real life work experiences and has connected them to the resources they will need to transition to the work force.

Missy-Tim.jpgOur Staff

But what really makes us a leader in Career and Technology Education are our people. Missy Ricken, our Support Employee of the Year, is vital to the daily operations at the CTC. Even though she remains busy, she always has a smile on her face. Missy says, "The days fly by at the CTC. No two days are ever the same. I love my bookkeeping responsibilities, and I learn something new every day".

Our CTC Teacher of the Year is Tim Hiott. Not only has Mr. Hiott been a graphics teacher here for the past 23 years, he has stepped up to help in an administrative capacity with the C3 program. Mr. Hiott is excellent at all he does. He exemplifies what the CTC is all about. "What I like most about my job is watching students succeed in the classroom and seeing them use their talents as they pursue their life goals," he said.

Brian Stewart Wins Golden Apple Award

 Pickens County Career & Technology Center electricity instructor Brian Stewart was shocked that he was nominated BrianStewart2.jpgfor the WYFF Golden Apple Award. On October 8, WYFF anchor Beth Brotherton surprised Brian's class with the news. Mr. Stewart was selected from a pool of teacher applicants that span the WYFF viewing area. Mr. Stewart began his teaching career in 1995 at B.J. Skelton Career Center and continues to provide his students with valuable experiences through instruction, competitions, internships, co-ops, industry certifications, and technical college TAP credit. All of these wonderful programs and the entire staff at the CTC make it a great place to work!