Congratulations to NC3’s October 2022 School on the Rise, Saline County Career & Technical Campus! Since becoming an NC3 Leadership School in 2021, SCCTC has expanded their program offerings to include Lincoln Electric, Trane, and Festo! NC3 is proud to support SCCTC in their quest to create better economic opportunities for students in their community.
Scott Kuttenkuler is the Assistant Vice Chancellor for the SCCTC, and he’s spent over twenty years in the field of education in various teaching and administrative roles. Mr. Kuttenkuler uses his experience to further the mission of SCCTC’s programs and views NC3 as an essential component to their school’s success. He said,
“At our core, we’re dedicated to the development of the whole student. By offering students the opportunity to earn industry recognized certifications, we’re helping them position themselves to be competitive in the job market. Once they have a job, the skills learned will allow them to advance their career into the future.”
The idea of career and technical education has evolved throughout the years, and when asked about his opinion on the change in perception Mr. Kuttenkuler said,
“The recent change has been significant. More people are recognizing the need for skilled individuals and are also understanding that such career paths can provide the kind of security often desired by employees.”
Mr. Kuttenkuler and his team members understand students’ pathways will depend on a number of factors, and SCCTC focuses on “Next Chapter” preparation. Some students will go on to attend four-year institutions, while others will attend two-year colleges. Students may desire to go to a trade school, while others are considering the military. Arkansas State University Three Rivers has partnered with SCCTC to offer 50% off scholarship opportunities for their students. With the alliance of community organizations and surrounding institutions, SCCTC is ready to support students in their next chapter after graduation no matter what path they choose.
John Westbrook, Industry Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Instructor at SCCTC, spent almost three decades working in the industry, and he had a desire to make a change that would benefit newcomers in the field. He said,
“Teaching and mentoring has always been part of my various roles. However, I wanted to be able to create change in students before the traditional approach changed them. From this, we can relieve some challenges currently faced in the job market.”
As an educator, Mr. Westbrook continuously develops creative ways to engage students. He hosts Student-Teacher Days, where he challenges students to instruct their class on a predetermined topic. This approach allows students to demonstrate a higher level of understanding about the subject matter, and his students often exceed his expectations!
Mr. Westbrook shared that he can easily see the impact NC3 certifications have on students. He mentioned the competitive edge students have once they’re trained with industry-standard equipment. Along with traditional instruction, his students apply their knowledge through the hands-on labs that imitate real-world scenarios. He said,
“In issuing NC3 certifications, the industry partners know that each student has proven skill development. The certificate itself contains the specific lessons learned and tested by the student. Those skills can separate our students from other candidates, and once hired, our students have skills with a direct connection to what’s needed for a successful career launch.”
Earning certifications also helps students before graduation. Mr. Westbrook reports a difference in the ways students engage as they learn about topics they’re interested in. He said,
“Students begin to view their studies not as something they’re being made to do, but rather something that will be beneficial for them as an individual. That kind of motivation allows me, as an instructor, to advance further than the initial class outcomes.”
SCCTC also proudly maintains coordinated partnerships throughout their community. The launch of their program was made possible through a partnership between the citizens of Saline County, Arkansas, six school districts in the area, and Arkansas State University Three Rivers. From these partnerships, a vision emerged. The result was a state-of-the-art learning environment that is built to evolve as the workforce and community needs of the region change.
Congratulations again to Saline County Career & Technical Campus for being designated as this month’s NC3 School on the Rise! This institution’s dedication to supporting each student’s next chapter inspires NC3 to further support their program expansion. Thank you, SCCTC, for trusting NC3 to support you in your mission!
Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in January 2023!
Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985, Erika.Staackmann@nc3.net