Local Career and Technical District Continues to Be Among the Best in Indiana

By: Contributor Last Updated: February 5, 2019

Porter-County-Career-and-Technical-CenterPorter County Career and Technical Education (PCCTE) is among five districts in Indiana that met all performance indicators in the most recent year studied. The most recent students studied were seniors in 2017.

The Indiana standards include the following measurements:

PCCTE conducts 37 programs in a dozen locations. It serves the following high schools: Boone Grove, Chesterton, Hebron, Hobart, Kouts, Morgan, Portage, Valparaiso, Washington and Wheeler.

“The Porter County Career & Technical Education (CTE) Programs offer innovative, rigorous curriculum that prepares students for high-wage, high-skill, high-demand careers in collaboration with the seven school districts in Porter County and the School City of Hobart,” said Mrs. Amanda Alaniz, Portage Township Schools superintendent.

“Being one of five CTE programs across the state of Indiana to meet and/or exceed all eight of the Indiana CTE Performance Indicators is further evidence of the high quality academic and career preparation programs in place,” she added. “Because of this, our students will be competitive in postsecondary education and the global economy.”

Taking Precision Machining “has given me a great step in my future,” said Austin Balcerak, Washington Twp. High School senior. He already has a job at Task Force Tips and will continue his machining studies at Vincennes University. He said that teacher Greg Carmack has been a big impact on what he will do and what he knows.

Christos Poulos, Valparaiso High School senior, plans to continue his study of telecommunications at Ball State University. He credits his year in Video Production and Media Studies with teacher Bob Phelps as “absolutely fantastic”. He said he has been learning in a very hands-on way about what he wants to do in the future.

Former Dental Careers student Dr. Jillian Joyce is now a dentist in Indianapolis. She attended Boone Grove High School.

She described taking Dental Careers with Mrs. Rhonda Doane at Portage High as the best decision she ever made.

Another former student, Jourden Bixenman, is now a structural and interior designer at Shive-Hattery, Inc., Architecture and Engineering in Valparaiso.

She took Computer Aided Design and Animation with Mr. Bill Guinee at the Porter County Career and Technical Center. She already has an associate’s degree and is now continuing her work on a bachelor’s degree at Columbia College Chicago with her employer’s help. She attended the Career Center while a student at Hebron High School. She said, “The Career Center classes helped me beyond measure.”

Teacher Tom Garzella, Chesterton High School, is one of 38 teachers in the CTE district.

“I like that our community has taken approach to invest in these programs to get the outcomes that they need to support our local needs long term,” offered the Construction Trades teacher.

“The value of our programs to our students is both academic and applied training to help them move forward in a life-long career. As an instructor, I look forward to helping them understand what it takes to have the knowledge, employability skills and to be open to being a lifelong learner,” he added.

EMS director Melissa Siegel works along with teacher Jason Fleming at Hobart High to immerse high school juniors and seniors in clinical opportunities for potential first responders.

“I ensure that all students are provided with a modern classroom setting that promotes knowledge and teamwork,” she said. “We also provide the students a wide variety of clinical opportunities for our students at the hospital, ambulance services, local fire departments and numerous community settings.”

The value of the program, she added, is preparing students for a career or a chance at a “first look” at careers in the medical setting. Siegel serves as EMS manager and program director at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart.

Mr. Jon Groth serves as PCCTE director and building principal at the Career Center. He boasts that he has the best CTE faculty in Indiana. In the 2018 annual report to the community, he said, “CTE programs are good for all kids. It helps them learn about and decide upon a career before running up against the high expenses of college tuition.”

He added, “The best college student are the ones who have well-developed career goals. For other students, the ability to go to work at a competitive technical salary is very attractive.”

To get involved in a career and tech ed program, a current sophomore or juniors applies through his or her guidance counselor. Applications are due now for spots in 2019-20 programs.