MAR LIN - "This important event can be summed up in one word - 'pride'" ~ Schuylkill Technology Center Executive Director Dr. Greg Koons.
Since 1968, the Schuylkill Technology Center has provided vocational/technical education for students in Schuylkill County, and on Tuesday morning, the center held a ribbon cutting ceremony at its South campus in Mar Lin to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
The ribbon cutting ceremony featured speeches from several community leaders, including Robert S. Carl Jr., president of the Schuylkill Technology Center.
"I don't think there's ever been a better time to be celebrating an anniversary than right now... I think over the last many years, our community has rallied around the importance of technical vocational education and its opportunity in the workplace today" Carl said during the event. "Through our manufacturers assocation, our economic development arm represented by SEDCO, the Schuylkill Chamber of Commerce, and truthfully many other business organizations and organizations in our community, we have an opportunity to collaborate and partner together, to make not only an educational opportunity for our future business and manufacturing and economic development leaders, but the opportunity for them to find meaningful work in our community and to, therefore, raise the level of our job opportunities and therefore the quality of life that we want so desperately to have in Schuylkill County."
The Schuylkill Technology Center offers 21 courses to students in the 11 school districts in Schuylkill County, including Automotive Technology, Carpentry Technology, Culinary Arts, and Welding Technology, among others.
The center operates campuses in Mar Lin, Norwegian Township; and in Frackville.
The importance of the programs were touted during the event by Schuylkill County Commissioners Gary Hess and George Halcovage, along with State Representatives Neal Goodman and Mike Tobash during the event."
"The asset that we have are the students, and what our students are now doing in this community, and the difference that they are making in the world, and because of the teachers that they have, the mentors that they have that are out in the community in different businesses that are teaching them what work ethic is about, what pride of community is about, that's what it's about." Halcovage said.
Halcovage introduced Commissioner Hess, a 1975 graduate of the technology center.
Hess noted he was part of the eighth graduating class from the school, and that the event was one held close to his heart.
"Back then, did I never feel that I would be standing here, 50 years, acknowledging the 50
year anniversary as a graduate of STC. This is what this school can do for you, and I know there's a multiple of other business owners, public servants that have gone through the training school and have learned the raw skills. Again, I went on a different career path, life takes you that way, but this school taught me the things of working hard, getting to the job on time, doing the little extra, giving back to your community, those are the raw skills that we need and I know that are expressed here in this school." Hess said.
Representative Goodman noted the importance of having a trained workforce in the region to attract new businesses to the region.
"In the old days, it used to be 'Location, Location, Location. If you build it, they will come,' and we have found that, what really drives the business community and investors in manufacturing is the workforce. They want to be able to come in, they want to have a workforce that is ready to go, they want to have a workforce that has, not only a good ethic, but the skills to back it up in modern technology, and in this building is where it happens, and it's all of you (STC teachers and staff) that do it." Goodman said.
"Vocational education doesn't just end here. It ends as lifelong learners. We are committed to take these challenges at the Schuylkill Technology Centers with the support of our instructors, staff, communities, business and industry, we are primed to creating a strong workforce for Schuylkill County. That is our mission... (The staff is) the front line of technology for the future of Schuylkill Technology Center. They are dedicated. They are the best instructors that are out there, and all I have to say is, for Pennsylvania, watch out, because STC is on its way up." Principal Jeff Sweda said in conclusion.
Also speaking at the event was Christine Verdier, Chief of Staff for Senator David Argall.
Cutting the ribbon were STC board President Scott Jacoby, Schuylkill Haven Area; and member Mary Jo Moss, Blue Mountain.
The Schuylkill County Commissioners and Representative Tobash both presented the center with proclamations.
The event concluded with a breakfast in the cafeteria of the technology center.
Both campuses will have an open house on October 11, and the Frackville campus will have a Craft Show on November 4.