CATEC Thrives With Community Organization and Business Partnerships

Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) thrives due in large part to our community partners who support our student learning experiences. We work hand-in-hand with local organizations and employers to ensure all of our students have access to relevant academic programs. We strive to develop strong relationships with these groups that provide guidance, support, and work and training opportunities for our students. 

Community Organizations

CATEC appreciates the time and dedication of the Charlottesville community organizations that have helped improve our facility and broadened our students’ opportunities. The following summarizes our most recent community partner contributions that positively impact our academic opportunities:

  • Each year, the Elk’s Lodge donates hundreds of pairs of safety glasses for student use. Safety glasses are distributed to students in CATEC’s skilled trade classes.
  • In spring 2018 and 2019, Charlottesville’s Rotary Club collaborated with CATEC’s Career Development program to provide mock job interview experiences for students. Rotarians volunteered to act as mock interviewers so students could practice their interviewing skills. The Career Development program is a school-wide endeavor that provides workplace readiness and career development training to all students.
  • In fall 2019, CATEC’s Culinary Arts program was the recipient of The Dominion Energy Foundation’s Environmental Education Stewardship Grants Program. This grant awarded the Culinary Arts program $5,000 for its CATEC Culinary Commons, an indoor-outdoor learning and community space designed to expand students’ experiences into indoor, hydroponic, and organic gardening.
  • In fall 2020, Management Service Corporation (MSC) continued work on the CATEC Culinary Commons by participating in the United Way’s Day of Caring. 15 MSC employees constructed garden beds and planted herbs behind the Culinary Arts kitchen.  
  • In fall 2020, CATEC also established a relationship with Cultivate Charlottesville, a local nonprofit organization that engages youth and community in building equitable and sustainable food systems through community gardens. Cultivate Charlottesville will build additional gardens on CATEC’s land and provide produce to the Culinary Arts program.

Business Partners

Local employers help CATEC students prepare to compete in the local and global workforce. Each academic program relies on its Advisory Board, a group of local business partners, to ensure students are meeting industry needs, using up-to-date equipment and supplies, and accessing work-based learning opportunities, including Youth Registered Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships. Our local business partners make these experiences possible. 

Equipment and Supplies

When business partners donate equipment and supplies to CATEC programs, students are guaranteed an enriched learning experience. Preparing students with the most up-to-date equipment gives them an advantage when entering the workforce. Recent donations from business partners include:

  • Throughout 2020 and 2021, local hair salons have donated supplies to CATEC’s Cosmetology program. Tangles Salon, At Last Hair Color Studio, Trend Salon, Moxie Hair and Body Lounge, Alternative Hair Solutions, and Hair Cuttery Salon donated hair color, shampoo and conditioner, styling products, and manakins. Cosmetology students are able to practice hands-on skills using these products.
  • In fall 2019, Design Electric and Square D donated materials to CATEC’s High School and Adult Education and Apprenticeship Electrical program. The donation included a transformer, panel, disconnect, conduit, wire, fittings, mounting hardware, and installation materials.
  • In fall 2019, Malloy Ford donated an automotive twin post lift to the Automotive Service Technology program. Bringing this lift into the Automotive Service Technology program’s lab allows students to learn skills using modern technology.
  • In fall 2019, Jim Price Hyundai donated a 2016 Hyundai Tucson to the Automotive Service Technology program. This generous donation allows students to do hands-on projects, giving them the access they need to rapidly-evolving automotive technology.
  • In fall 2020, Prince William County Fire and Rescue donated 25 Self Contained Breathing Apparatus with face masks and rapid intervention team packs to the Fire Science program. This equipment gives Fire Science students experience handling equipment in emergency scenarios.
  • From fall 2019- winter 2021, The Collision Repair Education Foundation, through the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) and 3M have donated  supplies to the Automotive Body Repair program. These donations included safety supplies, sandpaper including wet sandpaper, dry sandpaper, and grinding sandpaper.
  • In fall 2020, Wegmans Food Markets began donating food and supplies to CATEC’s Culinary Arts program. It has donated meat proteins, which allows students to have more opportunities to practice their developing skills. Donated meat includes a variety of chicken, beef, and pork. It has also donated food storage containers and bags.
  • In fall 2020, Jim Price Hyundai donated seat, wheel, and floor covers to CATEC’s Automotive Service Technology program to ensure continued safety in the lab. These covers are used by students when working in shared spaces, allowing them to stay safe as well as protect the vehicles.
  • In fall 2020, Lori Shinseki of Fire Horse Pictures created CATEC promotional videos. These videos allow CATEC to highlight its High School and Adult Education Program offering and share it to a broader audience. Shinseki is a local documentary filmmaker.
  • In spring 2021, Taylor’s Auto Body donated paint dryers to the Automotive Body Repair program. These dryers allow more students to practice skills with newer equipment.
  • In spring 2021, Diamondback Toolbelts donated six of its premium tool belts and additional supplies, including work buckets. 

Individual Donations

Individuals living in our community who understand the value CATEC has in providing real-world training make donations to our programs as well. In the last two years, community members have donated six vehicles to CATEC’s Automotive Body Repair and Automotive Service Technology programs. These vehicles are used for students’ hands-on skills practice in the lab.

Work-Based Learning

CATEC prides itself on ensuring that 100% of our high school students receive work-based learning experiences. Local businesses can partner with high school students through mentorships, job shadows, internships, or Youth Registered Apprenticeships. CATEC programs encourage local businesses to participate in guest speaker series to share information about real-life industry experiences and expectations. Businesses can also partner with adult students through CATEC’s Adult Education and Apprenticeship programs. CATEC consistently serves the academic needs of more than 200 apprentices each semester. CATEC’s Apprenticeship programs are approved by the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry and provide employer-sponsors and their employees with required related technical instruction hours needed to satisfy a full apprenticeship program. There are currently 55 local businesses that send apprentices to CATEC for instruction. The largest number of apprentices attending CATEC’s Apprenticeship training courses are employed by the University of Virginia Facilities Management, Design Electric, Albemarle Heating and Air, and Robertson Electric. In recent years, 23 CATEC high school graduates have returned to continue learning through its adult Apprenticeship training courses. In 2021, CATEC has 13 high school students to enter into apprenticeship agreements.

Employment Opportunities

Becoming a CATEC-affiliated employer benefits both CATEC students and local businesses. As businesses look to hire top-notch employees and build a strong local economy, they can become an integral part of sustaining the school-to-work pipeline at CATEC. Advisory Board members have opportunities to provide guidance and make curriculum recommendations that can help a business's potential new hires. CATEC programs work with local business partners to provide job interview opportunities for students as well. CATC consistently works to connect local businesses with ready-to-work students. High school students have internship and apprenticeship opportunities where they simultaneously receive high school and college credit, earn income, and receive post-secondary employment offers. Entering its third year, CATEC’s School-to-Work Signing Day event celebrates students’ hard work at CATEC and their continual professionalism in the workplace as they enter into formal commitments to enter employment with local businesses.

Continued Training

Building relationships with CATEC also affords training opportunities for a business's current workforce. CATEC is a certified training site for many continuing education exams and offers post-secondary education opportunities to employees through its Adult Education and Apprenticeship programs. 

Interested in becoming a CATEC community or business partner? Contact Director Stephanie Carter or Adult Education and Apprenticeship Program Manager Shannon Tomlin to begin today!

CATEC is a regional technical education center that helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Students have opportunities to practice hands-on and work-based learning activities alongside academically-driven curricula. CATEC prides itself on its built-in value, equity-based programs, and contribution to students' learning journeys.