News & Events

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

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.

CATEC Awarded Grant from Dominion Energy to Build Gardens & Greenhouse

CATEC was recently awarded a grant from Dominion Energy to create CATEC Culinary Commons!

The Culinary Commons will help students learn about growing their own food. It will feature six raised bed gardens, a greenhouse, an outdoor dining area, and an indoor hydroponics garden. The organic produce grown in the gardens will be used by CATEC’s Culinary Arts program. Next summer, CATEC also plans to offer a gardening camp, which will use the commons as an outdoor classroom. 

This project will be a true team effort. Students from the Culinary Arts, Building Trades, and Electrical programs will work together to create the space. Building Trades students will build picnic tables for the outdoor dining area. Culinary Arts and Building Trades students will work together to build the raised bed gardens and assemble the greenhouse. Electrical students will wire grow lights in the greenhouse and assemble the indoor hydroponic system.

By creating both an indoor hydroponics garden and an outdoor, traditional garden, Culinary Arts students will be able to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of the two systems. They will compost food scraps to use for fertilizer and create a truly organic garden. They will also learn about the benefits of farm-to-table cooking!

End of Year Events at CATEC

Join CATEC in congratulating our students and celebrating their accomplishments! We are wrapping up the 2018-2019 school year with several events to wish our new graduates good luck. Below is everything parents, caregivers, friends and students need to know about events for CATEC’s new grads.

Completers’ Ceremony

For high school completers and adult apprenticeship graduates
Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
Monticello High School (1400 Independence Way in Charlottesville)
Can’t make the event? Stream it online here.

The Completers’ Ceremony starts with a dinner reception from 5:00-6:00 PM in the cafeteria at Monticello High School. Students need to arrive no later than 6:00 PM and should dress in professional attire (business or business casual). High school seniors who are also graduating from their base schools must bring their graduation gowns, but not their caps, to wear during the ceremony. CATEC will provide gowns for undergraduate and homeschooled students who do not already have a graduation gown. Loaned gowns must be returned after the ceremony.

Signing Day Events

Similar to “National Signing Day” for high school student athletes, these events are a celebration and recognition of students, parents and employers who have committed to “school to work” partnerships. These partnerships bridge school and industry to give students the most current and relevant education and workplace experiences possible.  The events recognize CATEC students’ hard work and dedication to their training program. They also emphasize the value of the career training they have received at CATEC that has led directly to apprenticeships or employment.

2019 National Signing Day
May 8th at 7:30AM
At CATEC (1000 East Rio Road)

This event is presented by Klein Tools and SkillsUSA. CATEC students who have chosen to pursue a career as a professional in Electrical or Building Trades pathways will be honored.

CTE School to Work Signing Event
May 14th at 5:30pm
At CATEC (1000 East Rio Road)

This events honors CATEC students and the local employers who have hired them.  All student honorees – along with their parents and guardians — are invited to the CATEC Center Board reception at 5:30 p.m. The signing event will begin at 6:30 p.m. during the Joint Board meeting.

Please wear something with your employer’s logo on it if you have it. RSVP by Wednesday, May 8, 2019 to Leslie Chisholm

CATEC’s Veterinary Assistant Program Featured in Daily Progress

Interested in a veterinary career, but don’t want to attend eight extra years of school?  CATEC’s new veterinary assistant program could be a good way to explore career options and get valuable skills.  CATEC’s veterinary science instructor Dr. Kim Smyth helped start the program in August 2018. She recently wrote in The Daily Progress about how CATEC can help students who love working with animals get started in the veterinary field.

Students in CATEC’s year-long Veterinary Science course are trained as veterinary assistants. Five days a week, they leave their base schools and spend the entire afternoon learning from lectures, hands-on activities and labs. Live animals make frequent appearances. This semester, each student also will spend an afternoon shadowing in area veterinary clinics.

CATEC’s goal in each of its programs is to graduate students who are workforce ready. At the completion of the Veterinary Science course, students have a basic understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, animal behavior, clinical exams, animal skin and coat care, performing basic lab tests, nutrition and more. Students who complete the course are qualified to be hired immediately in area veterinary clinics,

Read the full article on The Daily Progress. (Photo courtesy of The Daily Progress)

Congrats to our 2019 Poster Contest Winner!

The winning “See Something, Say Something” poster

Congratulations to the Building Trades class for creating the winning poster!  Students submitted seven posters in the 2019 “See Something, Say Something” contest.  The winning poster was selected based on creativity, craftsmanship, and overall message.


Spring Break

April 1 – 5, 2019


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