Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School: Developing and maintaining a strong relationship between the STEM Division at Butler County Community College and the Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School

Posted on Categories College and Career Pathways

At a Glance

It is the shared goal of Butler County Community College (BC3) and Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School (BCAVTS) to provide post-secondary educational options for BCVATS students. Maintaining strong relationships between the BC3 Dean of STEM and STEM Division faculty and the BCAVTS administrators and faculty ensures that the College is aware of BCAVTS graduates’ post-secondary educational needs and the BCVATS is aware of the post-secondary educational opportunities that the College has for its graduates. 


The practice evolved organically over twenty years ago through the connections made by STEM Division faculty and BCAVTS faculty in their Machining and Drafting programs. BCAVTS graduates enrolled in BC3 STEM Division associate degree and certificate options related to these two programs. The relationship expanded over time through direct and intentional partnerships. For example, in the area of HVAC, BAVTS HVAC program students can earn twelve credits applicable to the BC3 HVAC A.A.S program. There is also an opportunity for students in a variety of BCAVTS programs to earn college credit that is applicable to the BC3 Applied Technology Certificate. In addition, the primary BCAVTS instructors of both the Machining and HVAC programs have taught BC3 STEM credit courses. Both are excellent instructors whose relationship with the College has further deepened through these teaching opportunities, and the College was able to donate a heat treatment oven to the BCAVTS Machining program because of the close relationship that the STEM Division has with them.

As with any initiative, there were challenges along the way. The primary challenge was a communication gap with the HVAC partnership that resulted in a temporary misunderstanding that could have proven detrimental to the relationship. Fortunately, it did not. To prevent a recurrence, the dean of STEM and the primary HVAC instructor meet at least once per year to discuss the BC3 HVAC program as well as matters pertaining to the HVAC industry and technology. The lesson learned was to be sure to maintain timely communication between all partners.


The close relationship between BCAVTS and the BC3 STEM Division has benefited BCAVTS graduates and STEM Division students who are taught by BCVTS instructors.


Butler County Community College (B3)

Matt Kovac, Interim Dean of the Science and Technology Division, matt.kovac@bc3.edu

Butler County Area Vocational-Technical School

Dr. Joseph Cunningham, Director, cunninghamj@butertec.us