Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Health

September 14, 2011

Students explore career options

GLASGOW — High school students and their families, as well as others from the community, gathered Tuesday night at Barren County High school to explore possible career and higher education opportunities, particularly those in health care and manufacturing.

Bowling Green Technical College hosted its fifth annual Evening with Industry as a way to share with students the postsecondary opportunities available at BGTC and the career paths that may follow.

“Our goal at Bowling Green Technical College is to serve and provide the best possible education we possibly can for this community,” said Ron Baldwin, chair of the BGTC Division of Applied Technology.

Baldwin was one of several BGTC representatives who addressed the crowd gathered at the high school, along with Glasgow Mayor Rhonda Trautman, T.J. Samson Community Hospital CEO Bill Kindred, Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce President Bob Cary and Gary Hartell, local plant manager of Glasgow’s industry of the year, Felker Brothers Corporation.

Kindred and Jimmy Isenberg, director of the Glasgow Health Campus, spent their portions of the evening emphasizing the opportunities that abound in health care, despite the country’s tough economic situation. All of BGTC’s health care programs are accredited, Isenberg said, which demonstrates BGTC’s high standards and shows that BGTC health degrees are widely accepted. BGTC students have been particularly successful in careers at T.J. Samson, Kindred said.

“I can say, without a doubt, that all the students who have graduated from all the programs, the many programs, at Bowling Green Tech, have been excellent employees and excellent graduates,” Kindred said.

Kindred’s words are good news for Julia Hicks. Hicks is only a freshman at Barren County High School, but she is already sure that she wants to pursue a health care career.

“The good thing is, I’m wanting to be a nurse,” Hicks said.

Hicks decided to come to Evening with Industry because she heard that nurses would be present to talk to students. Once there, she was not only able to talk to a registered nurse, but also a respiratory therapist and a sonogram specialist. While not many freshmen are already thinking about their careers after high school, Hicks said her mom is a nurse, and she knows she wants to go straight into some type of nursing program after she graduates high school.

The other side of the evening’s focus was manufacturing, which is plant manager Hartell’s specialty. Hartell’s company was named Industry of the Year just last week, and he was pleased to speak to students about the demand for many different types of jobs in the manufacturing world. The biggest advantage Barren County students have is their proximity to so many educational and employment opportunities, Hartell said.

“You don’t have to look any further than right next door to find those skills (you need for your career),” he said.

This year there is an added appeal to Bowling Green Technical School, said Ernie Myers, executive vice-president of the chamber.

“It’s especially important this year because of the agreement we just signed between Western Kentucky University and Bowling Green Technical College for the dual enrollment,” Myers said.

The dual enrollment program Myers mentioned means that students can take classes at BGTC, at community college prices and convenience, and those classes are then able to be directly transferred to any WKU campus. So not only should students interested in technical fields be examining BGTC, but students looking to pursue a four-year baccalaureate degree as well.

“They can’t make a wrong decision by choosing either of those (schools),” Myers said.

This year’s Evening with Industry seemed to have a larger turnout than last year, said BGTC Nursing Instructor Amanda Mutter. Mutter had the opportunity to talk to a lot of students, and she said the layout of the event makes it easy for students to speak to professors one on one without the pressure of an office environment or a commitment to the school.

Mary Perkins, manager of Joseph A. Wade, Inc., also saw the benefits of a low-pressure event to meet students. Several students even asked for applications. The whole event is an opportunity for students to see all the options that are out there, Perkins said, and for them to realize that there are good careers available without a four-year degree.

“This night just opens up a lot of doors to students,” Mutter said.

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