Local News

Aug 23, 2010 5:11 PM by Ariel Wesler

Most Hancock students choosing hands-on education

With more than 10,000 attending so far, enrollment is already up at Alan Hancock College by about two percent from this time last year. Most of those students are taking classes in technical education.

23-year-old Lucas Coulton of Paso Robles is taking his 4th machine techology class at Alan Hancock College. His teacher, Robert Mabry, says despite talk of outsourcing, manufacturing is alive and well on the Central Coast.

There's 15,000 people employed in manufacturing. It's like a little known secret," said Machine Technology Instructor Robert Mabry.

Local employers want people who are already trained and can start work immediately. In an age where technology reigns supreme, computerized machines are becoming a manufacturing must.

"The younger generation understands computers better and as a result, employers are looking for those kinds of people," Coulton said.

More than half the students at Hancock College this year are enrolled in career technical education programs like machine technology, where they learn to manufacture everything from automobile parts to airplane parts.

Students also create smaller items too. . .like this license plate frame, designed on a computer and etched on a machine. The school says it's no longer just training hobbyists.

"C.T.E. is what helps, I believe, our economy turn around," said Anne Cremarosa, Dean of Career Technical Education.

"If I wanted to, I could actually start on a basic level, doing my own work," Coulton said.

Hands-on work that gives student an upper hand in a competitve job search.

"It's another thing to knock on the door and say, I'm eager and I can do this. I can do the math. I know the measurements. I know the computers. I know the equipment. I'm ready to go to work," Mabry said.

The Machine Technology Program is an expensive program to maintain. Some of the newer machines cost close to $40,000. The school says it relies heavily on grants and donations from local manufacturers.

The last day to enroll in the C-T-E program is August 28th. Machine technology classes are offered weeknights and on weekends. New this semester, you must sign up for classes online.

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