By Jay Lancaster
Guidance counselor Brian O’Connell has a lot to say about the proposed vocational programs set to begin at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute. He and his team have crafted two separate 10 week programs for the school and hope to institute them soon.
“The idea was to run two 10-week vocational programs after school. The reason I decided to do two ten-weeks was twofold. One, I needed to make sure could get vocational teachers that were actually going to teach the program. Doing an entire year program seems like it was going to be a little bit of a stretch, getting people to commit to that time. And the second part was the students, the students generally don’t have an entire year’s time in order to come after school. The thought process was that if we did 10 weeks we could probably get some vocational teachers to commit and as well as some students that really did want to learn something.”
O’Connor made a point of ensuring the programs were ones that his students were going to derive tangible benefits from.
“What we tried to do was think about what employable skill a student could obtain in a 10 week period, so right of the bat that took a few of the shops off the table. [One of] the two programs that I’ve come up with for the first run [is] going to be Culinary Arts…. these kids are going to become ServSafe certified and they also will also learn basic knifing skills and cooking skills. What they can do with ServSafe is they’re at the top of the pile now. If they decide they want to work in the culinary field, if they want to work anywhere where there’s food, they aren’t just putting in an application, they’re somebody who’s actually certified in that area. I wanted to be able to say ‘If you come here, in 10 weeks then we can actually give you something that’s going to put you ahead of the game.’”
O’Connor continued on explaining the second program which served as a nice contrast to the first one.
“The second one is Design & Visual Communications. With the Design & Visual Communications shop, in a 60 hour time period they will become Photoshop certified. With Photoshop certification they can freelance using Photoshop. It also opens the door for students that are thinking about going into that field as a college major. They’re getting a marketable, employable skill, but they’re also putting themselves ahead of the game when it comes to applying to college.”
By making two separate programs, LVTI has ensured that students with different interests and abilities can learn skills that will help them later in life, an accomplishment certainly worth recognizing.