At a Glance
The Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) at Somerset County Technology Center conducts some of its monthly meetings at local businesses to strengthen business partnerships and to help ready students for successful careers.
A Professional Advisory Committee (PAC) is composed of superintendents of districts participating in a consortium to establish and operate a Career Technical Center (CTC). The PAC advises the school administration on the educational program and policies of the school.
Through the guidance of the Administrative Director and the Superintendent of Record, who is also a small business owner, the Somerset County Technology Center (SCTC) PAC developed a plan to incorporate industry visits into its monthly meetings. The goal for the 2014-2015 school year was to visit at least four Somerset County businesses.
The first visit was to a local defense contractor who manufacturers valves for U.S. Naval ships. After using the boardroom for their business meeting, PAC members listened to a presentation on the type of workforce the contractor employs and its workforce needs. Members found the information valuable for both the sending the districts and the CTC. Following the presentation, PAC members went on an extensive tour of the facility. During the visit, several SCTC graduates greeted the PAC members and explained how they applied what they learned at SCTC to their employment responsibilities.
Origin / Implementation
The PAC aims to develop strong relationships with local businesses so that it can help identify how to better prepare SCTC students for the workforce and post-secondary education. To achieve this goal, the Superintendent of Record and the Administrative Director felt that the time set aside for PAC meetings could be better used connecting the county school leaders with industry leaders.
The PAC discusses which companies to reach out to and selects them based upon the number of employees they staff, the career areas in which they hire, and high priority occupations. The PAC also takes into consideration companies that a need a relationship boost with SCTC. Either the Administrative Director or the Superintendent of Record, depending on which one might already have an established relationship with the company, then reaches out to set up the meeting.
For the meeting, the PAC requests that the company provide a meeting room and an overview of the company, including a tour of the business. The overview includes the types of careers the company employs, the number of employees, the types of products produced, and an outlook for future employment opportunities.
The industry visits began in the fall of 2014.
Results / Impact
In 2015, the local newspaper, Daily American, put together a Progress Edition insert to promote local businesses and the economic development of Somerset County. The defense contractor that the PAC visited referenced SCTC, and the reporter contacted the Administrative Director for input for the article. This recognition would not have occurred if the PAC had not visited them. In the article, the company president mentioned working with SCTC to develop internships, cooperative education placements, and workforce planning projects.
Somerset County Technology Center
Karen Remick, Administrative Director