News & Events

How to Get the Most out of High School? Culinary Arts Students Ask This Recent CATEC Grad

Recent Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) Culinary Arts graduate Tyquan Alston visited its Culinary Arts I program last week to talk about the opportunities CATEC afforded him. Alston returned to CATEC to speak with new Culinary Arts students about taking advantage of every possible learning moment offered to them. As a May graduate, Alston spoke to students from the perspective of someone who had just recently been in the same position. He urged new students to brush off negative attitudes or preconceptions they may have.

He reflected on his relationship with lead instructor, Chef Carol Robbs, and said “when I started to pay attention, I realized how much I had to learn.” Chef Robbs says that she is very “proud of Tyquan. I could see the growth and maturity in him. I can see he found his humility and reflects on his time at CATEC very positively.”

Transferring to PVCC’s Culinary Arts Program

Culinary Arts graduate Tyquan Alston visits the Culinary Arts I program

At CATEC, Alston became CPR, First Aid, and ServSafe Manager-certified. The ServSafe program is developed by the National Restaurant Association with the help of the foodservice industry to help define food safety best practices. He received dual-enrollment credit through Piedmont Virginia Community College (PVCC), which allowed him to transfer seamlessly to PVCC’s Culinary Arts Program.

In late August, Alston began studying under Chef Eric Brekoff in the program that blends professional and technical courses with hands-on training. The 67-credit program will allow Alston to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science. When he completes the program, he will be able to enter the workforce as a chef, sous chef, pastry chef, or personal chef in restaurants, hotels, resorts, or country clubs. Alston is currently using his Culinary Arts skills by working in the food service industry at the University of Virginia while taking his classes at PVCC.

The Collision Repair Education Foundation and 3M Donate Thousands of Dollars in Supplies to Auto Body Repair Program

The Collision Repair Education Foundation grant program, through Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR), generously donated thousands of dollars’ worth of 3M supplies to Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center’s (CATEC) Automotive Body Repair program this past week.

CATEC auto body students and their new supplies

Introducing Auto Body Students to New Materials

Auto Body Repair program instructor Ronald Moore says the donation will enable his students to “do more projects and be introduced to many different types and kinds of sandpaper.” Moore says these products are not normally available to students because of costs. Donated items include many different types and sizes of sandpaper including wet sandpaper, dry sandpaper, and grinding sandpaper. Moore says the sandpaper is “needed for all areas of instruction from dent repair to color sanding final paint for polishing.”

Auto Body Repair program students take I-CAR Professional Development Program classes throughout the school year, earning industry certificates as they learn. Students can earn up to 20 certifications, making students more marketable when looking to begin their careers. I-CAR is an international not-for-profit organization focused on providing information, knowledge and skills required to perform complete, safe and quality repairs. I-CAR’s focus is to provide everyone involved in the collision repair industry with high-quality, industry-recognized training.

Making a Difference in Student Readiness

Shannon Tomlin, CATEC’s Career Center Specialist, says that the donated supplies will “make a difference in the quality and level of readiness for every student entering the industry.” CATEC’s Auto Body Repair program is a two to three-year course that covers competencies enabling students to enter the Auto Body industry after high school, or sometimes even before graduation. Students have opportunities to earn high school credit and income while attending CATEC when they enter internships with local Auto Body shops in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Elks Lodge Donates 350 Pairs of Safety Glasses

The Charlottesville Elks Lodge once again generously donated safety glasses to Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) for the 2019-2020 school year. Four of CATEC’s program areas will be able to use the 350 donated pairs. The Elks Lodge has been donating safety glasses to CATEC for many years.

Safety at CATEC

Practicing industry safety is an important aspect of training young professionals at CATEC. Built into their industry competencies, our Building Trades and Electrical, Automotive Body Repair, and Automotive Service Technical instructors strive to meet industry standards on day one. Building Trades and Electrical instructor Sidney Trimmer says the donation “helps us save about $200 a year for safety glasses. We use them every day.” CATEC will be able to use instructional funds to cover other essential needs that will prepare its students for the workforce.

The Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) is a regional technical education center, which helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Our centralized, unified career development program helps students develop strategic approaches to cultivating their careers. CATEC was founded in 1973 and serves students from both Albemarle County Schools and Charlottesville City Schools.

CATEC Alumnus Uses EMT and Fire Knowledge in Maritime Engineering

Recent two-time CATEC graduate, Kenley Woods, began his newest academic adventure in August at Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City, Michigan. Woods is studying Maritime Engineering for four years and will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Maritime Technology when he graduates. He is learning how to efficiently operate and maintain ship engines and support ship machinery. Woods will graduate with his Coast Guard license and will be an Officer, First Engineer. Graduates from this program leave as highly credentialed and experienced engineers with in-demand maritime experience.

Woods met a current merchant marine engineer who graduated from Great Lakes Maritime Academy at a CATEC Career Fair last January. Woods was immediately drawn to the college’s opportunities to study marine engineering and travel the world. Upon this encounter, he said his life took a “turn for the better” when he realized this job seemed “impossibly perfect.” He began the application process right away. Out of 400 applicants, Woods was one of 60 cadets accepted for the 2019-2020 year, and one of only 24 students studying engineering.

A Firefighter and EMT by Age 18

Woods graduated from CATEC’s firefighting program in 2019 and received his Virginia Fire I and II certifications

Woods attributes much of his success to his accomplishments at CATEC. Along with his application, Woods had an in-person interview with admissions officers in Michigan. Woods said he “realized how much CATEC had done for me” when the admissions offer said “you are only 18 and you are a firefighter and EMT.” He said CATEC has been a “rock in my life” because it provides real-world training for real-world certifications.

Woods first graduated from CATEC in 2018 when he completed the Emergency Medical Technician program. He returned for the 2018-2019 school year to take CATEC’s firefighting course and was a volunteer firefighter in Charlottesville. He graduated from the program in 2019 and received his Virginia Fire I and II certifications. All together, he earned 24 college credits as a dual-enrolled student at CATEC. Woods was a featured student speaker at CATEC’s graduation last year. This experience helped him earn acceptance at Great Lakes Maritime Academy.

CATEC: Career Training for Students & Adults

The Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) is a regional technical education center, which helps high school students and adults obtain the jobs they seek. Our centralized, unified career development program helps students develop strategic approaches to cultivating their careers. CATEC was founded in 1973 and serves students from both Albemarle County Schools and Charlottesville City Schools.

Cville Weekly: CATEC Helps Women Break into Trade Careers

A CATEC student works on a class project, a modular house that will be auctioned off as a fundraiser.

A new article from Cville Weekly looks at women breaking into building trades in Central Virginia — and how CATEC is helping jumpstart their careers.

Nationwide, women represent only 3.4 percent of the construction trades workforce. And it’s not for lack of jobs. Construction in Virginia has rebounded, and many workers are nearing retirement age. More than 90 percent of construction firms report difficulty finding employees, and Virginia’s demand for trade workers will create almost 218,000 jobs between now and September 2020.

CATEC is one of the biggest players working to promote the trades in Charlottesville. CATEC serves nearly a dozen high schools in the region, and works in partnership with local community colleges and employers to offer workforce education programs for both high school students and adults.

CATEC Team Speaks to Girls’ Experiences?

Debbie Gannon, CATEC’s apprenticeship and adult programs coordinator, weighed in on girls’ experiences in CATEC’s building trades programs:

“For the construction trades specifically, girls may count themselves out because they think the jobs require massive muscle power. But nowadays, the trades are as technological as they are manual­—and that includes the attention to detail and planning skills in which females, especially in high school, often outpace their male peers.

Besides that, Gannon says, “Sometimes the girls feel they have more to prove—and that makes them work harder and smarter.”

Attitudes can be hard to change even when a girl is attracted to skilled trades work, Shannon Tomlin, CATEC’s career coordinator for high schools, told Cville Weekly. Tomlin said she knows at least one student who was interested in masonry training and had to convince her parents to let her pursue it.  

Getting More Girls to Think Trades

CATEC is doing a lot help get all kids thinking about trades as a career. Their efforts start in the local elementary schools. The school always includes women, by bringing tradeswomen from local employers along on CATEC’s school visits, or having girls already enrolled in the skilled trades classes present on CATEC tours.

Read the full story on C-Ville.com

CATEC Recognizes 40 Students with Signing Day Events

At its second annual School to Work signing ceremony, CATEC recognized the nearly 40 students graduating this spring with a full-time job already secured.   The students will be working in local hair salons, auto shops and health clinics, among other area businesses.

“It’s a nice recognition for kids,” said Shannon Tomlin, the career coordinator at CATEC, told the Daily Progress. “They feel like their hard work has paid off, and their parents like employment.”

Tomlin said the number of students honored doubled since last year’s ceremony. She attributes the increase to a push in the Charlottesville and Albemarle school divisions to expand work-based learning opportunities. Tomlin organized the ceremony as a way to recognize the students and to highlight career and technical education.

“There’re always these pushes for kids going to college,” she said. “College just isn’t for everyone … There’s something to be said for these kids who can go through a trade program. They can still go to college. This doesn’t limit them to just leaving us and going directly to work. This gives them another avenue to support themselves, whatever path they take.”

Read the full article on Daily Progress’ website.

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