AgEST hosts annual career, tech education open house

Photo by EvyJo Compton | Paul Hohulin, an instructor in the Agriculture/ Engineering Sciences and Technology department, shows Xavier of the READY program how to wire the thermostat used in the ELT session.

Photo by EvyJo Compton | Paul Hohulin, an instructor in the Agriculture/ Engineering Sciences and Technology department, shows Xavier of the READY program how to wire the thermostat used in the ELT session.

EvyJo Compton 

Staff Writer

For over ten years, Parkland’s Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies has held a Career and Technical Education Open House, and this year’s open house took place on Oct. 20.

Students from surrounding high schools were invited to come to the open house. These students usually have an interest in technical education, and then hopefully, a technical career.

“We invite high school juniors and seniors from district 505 and surrounding communities. The high schools bus in large groups of students for the event,” said Aimee Densmore, program manager with CTE. “It’s a great chance to see if a career they’re considering is a good fit or not.”

The students could choose three areas that interested them the most out of a list provided to them beforehand. This allows for students to be able to see a variety of career opportunities and learn more about each one.

“Each student chooses three career areas to explore at the CTE Open House,” Densmore said. “Their choices include agriculture, automotive technology, aviation, collision repair, construction management, diesel power, electrical power, engineering science, horticulture, industrial automation, industrial welding, and United Steel Workers Local 7-838.”

United Steel Workers Local 7-838 is a regional union.

Once the students had chosen their three areas, they began the open house in the gymnasium. After the gymnasium, the open house was split into 40 minute sessions. These sessions were located on different parts of the campus.

“Students start out in the gymnasium at Parkland and then attend hands-on sessions at the Construction Education Alliance; Parkhill Applied Technology Center, Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the M-wing in Parkland’s main building,” Densmore said.

These sessions were on a variety of topics, and consisted of two parts; information and hands-on activities. The hands-on activities included activities like a Spark Plug Challenge and demonstrations with drones.

“Students were informed about career training available at Parkland, as well as industry requirements for various positions,” Densmore said. “The 40-minute session is split into two parts: information on career training and salary outlook, and then job opportunities and a hands-on activity. Students saw demonstrations with drones; competed in pit stop challenges; and tried out the paint guns used in collision repair, just to give a few examples.”

The CTE Open House gives students the opportunity to explore their options before picking a certain path.

“These high-tech, nine-month certificate and two-year degree programs result in well-paying, exciting jobs,” Densmore said. “We want students to explore all their college options before choosing their major and future career. The CTE Open House gives juniors and seniors the opportunity to visit our state-of-the-art lab spaces, meet our faculty, and see if a Parkland career program is a good fit for them.”

Parkland’s Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies has an open-door policy. They welcome visitors with the intent of showing the students and families how Parkland will help the students reach their goals.

“We welcome students and their families to contact us to set up a time to see what we offer and learn how we can help students reach their goals,” Densmore said.

For more information on the AgEST department, those interested can contact Densmore at adensmore@parkland.edu or visit Parkland’s website at parkland.edu. Click on the “Academics” tab at the top of the page, and then “Agricultural/Engineering Science & Technologies” in the list on the left-hand side.