School to re­view pro­grams to teach for jobs of to­mor­row

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - ON THE RECORD - By Bob Keeler

Up­per Bucks County Tech­ni­cal School now of­fers 19 dif­fer­ent pro­grams of ca­reer study.

Re­build­ing plans will take into ac­count the ad­di­tion of new pro­grams or drop­ping ones that are cur­rently of­fered at the school, which has about 640 students from the Pen­nridge, Pal­isades and Quak­er­town school dis­tricts.

Bernard Wa­genseller’s most re­cent job be­fore be­ing hired ear­lier this year as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of UBCTS was at Le­high Ca­reer and Tech­ni­cal In­sti­tute in Sch­necksville, which has about 3,000 students and 50 pro­grams.

“It didn’t mat­ter, no mat­ter what it was, they had it, but here we have to be a lit­tle more se­lec­tive,” Wa­genseller said. “We’re not go­ing to triple the size of the cam­pus and we don’t have the stu­dent body that de­mands it. It would be great if we could of­fer ev­ery­thing to ev­ery­body, but it’s not eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble to of­fer 50 pro­grams.”

No de­ci­sions have been made yet on drop­ping or adding pro­grams, he said, but one of the most im­por­tant fac­tors in de­cid­ing whether a pro­gram should be dropped is the num­ber of students sign­ing up to take it.

“We’ve just ini­ti­ated a new board pol­icy that looks at pro­gram en­roll­ment be­cause we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to the tax­pay­ers to pro­vide the most cost ef­fec­tive ed­u­ca­tion pos­si­ble, so pro­grams that are not fully en­rolled, or at least half of ca­pac­ity, can be prob­lem­atic from a cost stand­point,” Wa­genseller said.

When en­roll­ment in a pro­gram drops be­low 65 per­cent of ca­pac­ity, an anal­y­sis is done to try to fiJuUH RuW WKH FauVH.

“If we have a pro­gram that’s con­sis­tently un­der­en­rolled and when we look at the la­bor data, we’re not plac­ing students in jobs when they grad­u­ate, that would be a pro­gram that we would con­sider re­mov­ing. At the same time, we’re look­ing at other in­dus­try in the area that is cry­ing out for peo­ple and that we’re not of­fer­ing that pro­gram,” Wa­genseller said. “So we would look at that pro­gram and say, ‘Should we have it?’”

The school’s Joint Oper­at­ing Com­mit­tee has asked Wa­genseller to rec­om­mend two pro­grams of study that could be added.

“The pres­i­dent has idenWL­fiHd dLYHUVL­fiHd PaQuIaF­tur­ing as the num­ber one tar­get for fu­ture jobs,” Wa­genseller said.

“The pro­grams that are con­sid­ered close to di­ver­si­fiHd PaQuIaFWuULQJ aUH dUaIWing, which we don’t have; ma­chin­ing, which we do have; weld­ing, which we do have; me­chotron­ics, which is like an elec­tronic, me­chan­i­cal RI­fiFH URbRWLFV WySH SURJUaP, which we do not have; so those are pro­grams that we should be con­sid­er­ing,” he said. “vou look at what does the state rec­om­mend, then you say, ‘Well, even if the state rec­om­mends it, does that mean that locally we should have it?’”

Work­ing with a state list of more than 40 pro­grams of study for ca­reer and tech­ni­cal schools, Wa­genseller re­viewed which ones are al­ready of­fered at UBCTS; which ones — such as ma- sonry or home­land se­cu­rity and law en­force­ment — are sim­i­lar to and would com­pete with ones al­ready of­fered at UBCTS; and which ones — such as draft­ing, com­puter tech­nol­ogy, biotech­nol­ogy and child care — are sim­i­lar to and would com­pete with pro­grams of­fered at the school dis­tricts.

That left eight pro­grams as vi­able can­di­dates to be added to the UBCTS cat­a­logue. Wa­genseller then picked and ranked his top three choices.

7KH fiUVW waV YHKLFOH main­te­nance tech­nol­ogy.

“I be­lieve that if we of­fered that course right now, wH’d fiOO LW ULJKW away,” Wa­genseller said. “I think there’s a lot of stu­dent in­ter­est. There’s a high de­mand for peo­ple in that in­dus­try, es­pe­cially in this area.”

If the ve­hi­cle main­te­nance pro­gram were added, it would be part of the school’s au­to­mo­tive tech­nol­ogy clus­ter, but is a dif­fer­ent pro­gram, he said.

“It cov­ers ev­ery­thing from snow­mo­biles, out­board mo­tors to trac­tors, mo­tor­cy­cles,” Wa­genseller said.

Num­ber two on the list was lo­gis­tics, ma­te­ri­als and sup­ply chain man­age­ment.

“Find­ing parts is not as sim­ple as it sounds,” Wa­genseller said. “It’s quite a com­pli­cated process.”

Num­ber three on the list was heat­ing, air con­di­tion­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and re­frig­er­a­tion main­te­nance tech­nol­ogy.

“There’s al­ways a de­mand for HsAC students,” Wa­genseller said.

Al­though it’s third on the list, it’s ac­tu­ally his fa­vorite, Wa­genseller, whose fiUVW FaUHHU waV LQ H9$C, said.

“The only rea­son it’s not at the top of the list is be­cause we have a heat­ing and plumb­ing pro­gram now, which to the ca­sual ob­server al­most ap­pears to be the same pro­gram,” he said. “The his­tory of plumb­ing has a tie-in to old cen­tral heat­ing plants. How­ever, heat­ing and air con­di­tion­ing now moves over to heat pumps and geo­ther­mal and cer­tainly there’s some plumb­ing con­nec­tions in there, but they’re two com­pletely dif­fer­ent pro­grams.”

Up­per Bucks County Tech­ni­cal School Skill­sUSA of­fi­cers and UBCTS stu­dent sign par­tic­i­pants pose with Chuck Beecher, Quak­er­town Lowe’s com­mer­cial sales spe­cial­ist, and Joseph Dixon, Lowe’s store man­ager. Lowe’s Char­i­ta­ble and Ed­u­ca­tional Foun­da­tion has awarded a $10,000 grant to UBCTS for a front en­trance sign re­place­ment project. The project is a joint ef­fort among UBCTS students, Lowe’s and an area sign com­pany.

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