By Tim Thornberry
Beth Hargis knows how important partnerships are to the success of Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. It is the foundation on which the programs are built, she said.
As principal of the Pulaski County Area Technology Center (ATC), Hargis has enjoyed partnerships between local business and industry, local government and the local community college.
Those relationships have gotten the ATC’s newest project off the ground. A Natural Gas Pipeline Technician Program began this year at the school, signaling the development of a program to fill not only a local need but a growing demand for technicians across the country.
“I believe this program will provide a meaningful and lasting occupation for those students who become involved,” she said.
Hargis added that with the introduction of this program at the ATC comes the recognition of it being the first of its kind in the state’s secondary education sector, and the most comprehensive program at the high school level in the country.
“We have researched this for months to make sure we have all the proper components in place to ensure success and have not found anything like it anywhere, from a secondary education standpoint,” said Hargis.
The program began as an initiative from Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler, who was frustrated trying to hire qualified gas pipeline technicians, explained Hargis.
Somerset owns a natural gas pipeline that spans seven counties, and the city recently opened a natural gas fueling center and is moving toward a natural gas fleet of city vehicles. Read the full story