Red & Black

Nichols Career Center celebrates its 40th year

Kelsie Backues and Ali Beza, Staff Reporters

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Right across the street from your own Jefferson City High School, Nichols Career Center has been preparing students for future success for 40 years. Whether you have a class or two at Nichols, you know someone involved in a program, or you’re involved in one yourself, almost everyone has heard about the Career Center and the good it brings to the community

It is obvious that the NCC has changed over the past 40 years, as new jobs for graduates become available and new opportunities are created.

Sharon Longan, Director and Counselor, has been in the district for 16 years, with 14 of those spent at NCC.

“The Career Center opened it’s doors spring semester, 1976,” Longan said. “Since then, there’s been numerous changes in regards to what we offer or how our programs have evolved to keep up with industrial, community, and workforce needs. One thing that has changed is we used to offer adult education, and we no longer do.”

As the industry evolves, NCC has done their best to keep up with the times. They try to prepare students for their path driven future, whether that be going to college to further their training, or going straight into the workforce.

Counselor Travis Plume has been with NCC for four years, and in the district for six. He previously taught as a science teacher for 10 years.

“We are a consortium, which means we serve several schools, and it would not be economically feasible for any one of these individual schools to provide the type of equipment we have here,” centers which have three times the space we have in one area for our auto tech,” Longan said. “We would also like to look at expansion. We would love to be able offer additional programming that is of interest to students, and that would be supported by the community. The connection we have with business and industry is huge because that is who we are also serving.” If you are interested in something that NCC doesn’t already have a program for, you might be in luck. The current issue of the building of a second high school leaves hope for NCC. “The bond issue that’s going on in April would benefit us because we would gain some space ‘back’ because we would be moving kids across town,” Longan said. “When we’ve got requests on the table, we have to think about how that fits within this campus,” Longan said, “we have to share space and polices and procedures with the high school.”

As this year comes to a close, NCC is excited to announce a new program, Broadcast Media. “We’ve decided through that consortium group of counselors, we asked if they would have an interest in seeing students in a Broadcast Media program here,” Plume said, “We’ve got requests, and we’ll have students coming in next year.” Since NCC shares their building with JCHS, you might already be familiar with it and its programs. However, if you haven’t already considered joining a program, you might start, as you could kickstart your career in something you love to do. Plume said. “It would just be way too expensive. Each of these students that come here from these schools pay tuition, so those funds help support what we do here.

“We strive to provide industry ready equipment that students can train on, practice on, and make mistakes on,” Longan said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have additional funding, besides local funding, that helps career technical schools.”

As NCC developed their programs and made an overall better environment for their driven students, they have tried to keep one thing constant: the connection that makes it a career center.

“One thing that’s been constant throughout the years is our connection to business and industry,” Plume said. “We provide our students with internship opportunities, so that they can go out into the community and work in the career field that they’re training for. About a third of our students will move directly into the workforce upon graduation, and about two thirds of those students will move on to getting additional training.”

“A goal for us every year is to look at a program and look at what we can do to enhance it, what can we do to improve it, what do we need to cycle out, what is beyond repair,” Longan said.

As plans to expand and add new programs unfold, the future for NCC is looking bright.

“We would love to see, first and foremost, the programs that we already offer to be able to expand upon them and augment them, but we are hampered by space. There are career centers which have three times the space we have in one area for our auto tech,” Longan said. “We would also like to look at expansion. We would love to be able offer additional programming that is of interest to students, and that would be supported by the community. The connection we have with business and industry is huge because that is who we are also serving.”

If you are interested in something that NCC doesn’t already have a program for, you might be in luck. The current issue of the building of a second high school leaves hope for NCC.

“The bond issue that’s going on in April would benefit us because we would gain some space ‘back’ because we would be moving kids across town,” Longan said.

“When we’ve got requests on the table, we have to think about how that fits within this campus,” Longan said, “we have to share space and polices and procedures with the high school.”

As this year comes to a close, NCC is excited to announce a new program, Broadcast Media. “We’ve decided through that consortium group of counselors, we asked if they would have an interest in seeing students in a Broadcast Media program here,” Plume said, “We’ve got requests, and we’ll have students coming in next year.”

Since NCC shares their building with JCHS, you might already be familiar with it and its programs. However, if you haven’t already considered joining a program, you might start, as you could kickstart your career in something you love to do.

 

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Nichols Career Center celebrates its 40th year