News & Events

Design Electric and Square D Donate Materials to Electrical Programs

CATEC electrical students learn in an under construction house

Design Electric and Square D by Schneider Electric have generously donated electrical equipment to Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center’s (CATEC) Electrical programs. The donations will allow CATEC’s Adult Education and High School Electrical programs to perform more hands-on activities.

Help Meet Programming Needs

CATEC’s original building design was not meeting current programming needs. However, the new equipment will allow CATEC to increase building power, making it feasible to add more HVAC units and electrical stations to classrooms for student use.

Design Electric donated a transformer, panel, disconnect, conduit, wire, fittings, mounting hardware, and installation materials. Design Electric is a growing electrical contractor specializing in large projects in central and western Virginia. It recently employed four CATEC High School Building Trades and Electrical students to work as Youth Registered Apprentices. These apprentices work for Design Electric, gaining real-world work experience while getting high school credit. Design Electric’s Casey Carwile says they donated the materials because “we are committed to hands-on electrical education in the area for apprentices and students who want to make a career of the electrical trade.” Square D by Schneider Electrical donated QO panel boards, interiors and trim, and breakers. Square D by Schneider Electrical is a national producer of electrical components including switchgear, breakers, transformers, and control systems.

Training a New Generation of Electrical Workers

CATEC’s Electrical programs provide students with skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems. Students study electrical theory and navigate the National Electrical Code Book. Adult Apprenticeship Electrical students take coursework related to alternating current and grounding, load calculations and distribution, and practical applications and basic electronic theory. High School Electrical students receive 9 college credits from Piedmont Virginia Community College. Students in the Electrical program are OSHA-10 certified and receive certifications in NCCER curriculum.

Design Electric’s Carwile is thankful for all CATEC is doing to bring electrical workers into the workforce. He says “thanks for all that you are doing at CATEC to teach the next generation of workers. Thanks again also for the chance you have given us to assist with the electrical learning process.”

It’s National Veterinary Technician Week: Meet Our Newest Program

CATEC students pet goats on farms

CATEC is excited to be celebrating its newest program for National Veterinary Technician Week! CATEC’s Veterinary Assistant program is a natural step for students interested in becoming veterinary technicians. CATEC’s Veterinary Assistant class introduces students to the technical knowledge and skills necessary for success in careers pertaining to animals. This includes pet care industries, government agencies, laboratory research institutions, pharmaceutical occupations, veterinary medical assisting and technology, and postsecondary education. Students learn about veterinary science in a classroom setting, simulated small animal veterinary hospital, and on-site visits.

students dressed in scrubs and masks

Veterinary assistant students show off their scrubs.

Last year, students took a field trip to the Richmond Zoo so they could study the ethics of zoos and their wildlife programs. The class also visited Open Gate Farm to interact with chickens, turkeys, pigs, goats, and rabbits and students studied the farm’s heritage pork operation. Many animals also made guest appearances in the classroom, including a pigeon, family dogs, and pet goats.

Veterinary Assistant students receive 12 college credits through Blue Ridge Community College. Credits include coursework in veterinary assisting, care and maintenance of small domestic animals, veterinary office assisting, and companion animal behavior. Students who satisfactorily complete the program also receive the Blue Ridge Community College Career Studies Certificate in Veterinary Assisting concurrent with high school graduation. CATEC also supports student students as they take the Certified Veterinary Assistant test through American Allied Health. For the 2018-2019 school year, CATEC had a 93% pass rate.

CATEC’s Veterinary Assistant students pose with their homemade treats.

Upon graduation from the program, students can enter the industry as a Veterinary Assistant, assisting vets by setting up equipment, preparing animals for treatment, and keeping records. Projected job growth in Virginia for Veterinary Assistants is nearly 20% and Virginia wages align with the national wage average. Several students who graduated from the program last year are working in area veterinary clinics. Two alumni are working as Laboratory Animal Care Technicians for The McConnell Group, a company that supports media research for human and veterinary health and contracts with a UVA research lab.

See Something, Say Something Poster Contest

CATEC’s program areas are participating in its own See Something, Say Something campaign to help raise awareness about school violence. Based on the Sandy Hook Promise’s gun violence prevention program that trains schools and youth-serving organizations, CATEC’s See Something, Say Something campaign, promoted school-wide, is raising awareness and educating students about their power to prevent school and community tragedies.

CATEC programs have created posters that best exemplify to them what students can do to help prevent school violence. One poster will win for creativity, message, and design. The winning program will receive a pizza party. Check out this year’s entries below:

CATEC Celebrates Careers in Construction Month

CATEC is eagerly celebrating Careers in Construction Month, a month-long recognition of craft professionals and career opportunities in the construction industry. Sponsored by National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and Build Your Future (BYF), the annual event brings together organizations from around the country to work together to raise awareness of the great career opportunities in the construction industry. Careers in Construction events highlight skilled men and women, provide information and resources for educators, and help youth interested in becoming a craft professional.

Celebrating Careers in Construction Month at CATEC

This year, CATEC’s Building Trades and Electrical programs are celebrating in a big way. Career Center Specialist, Shannon Tomlin, organizes the event. She says “The goal of our celebration is to give students information, resources and mentoring that can inspire them to choose a rewarding career as a skilled trade professional. Our guest speakers and field trip opportunities expose them to different industries and pathways available.”

CATEC students working on electrical in building

CATEC’s Building Trades program prepares students to erect, install, maintain, and repair buildings and other structures.

CATEC students kicked off the month by participating in competitive events at the SkillsUSA State Fair of Virginia in Doswell. Students participated in its electrical event. CATEC will be hosting many guest speakers representing different aspects of the construction industry. Stanley Black and Decker, maker of DeWALT hand tools, Lenox cutting blades, Power concrete anchors, Proto Shop tools, and Irwin hand tools, is presenting a hand tool safety seminar. Moore’s Mechanical and Electrical and the University of Virginia’s Facilities Management department will both be speaking to students about opportunities in their fields. Students will be visiting Skanska’s University Health System’s multi-year hospital expansion project to learn about urban, commercial projects. At the end of October, students will participate in Piedmont Virginia Community College’s 10th Grade BizKid$ Career Pathways Expo, working with the representatives from the Associated General Contractors of Virginia and Build Your Future to promote the skilled trades.

CATEC’s Building Trades Programs

CATEC’s Building Trades program prepares students to erect, install, maintain, and repair buildings and other structures. Curriculum focuses on developing skills in safety for the masonry, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing professions. CATEC’s Electrical program provides students with skills to install, operate, maintain, and repair residential, commercial, and industrial electrical systems. Students study electrical theory and navigate the National Electrical Code Book. Electrical students receive 9 college credits from Piedmont Virginia Community College. Students in both Building Trades and Electrical program are OSHA-10 certified and receive certifications in NCCER curriculum. In May, CATEC participates in the SkillsUSA and Klein Tools National Signing Day. Last year, CATEC recognized 9 students for accepting jobs or apprenticeships with local construction companies.

Skilled craftspeople are in demand nationwide. Seventy percent of jobs do not require bachelor’s degrees and with nearly 1.5 million craft professionals needed by 2023, it is more important than ever to get high school students interested in the industry. Associated Builders and Contractors of Virginia estimates that the workforce will demand 177,748 workers in Virginia by the year 2021. The projected job growth in Virginia in the construction industry is up 21%. Tomlin says “Careers in the construction industry offer financial freedom through high salaries and affordable education options.”

NCCER is an education foundation that offers training curricula, assessments, and credentials for more than 70 crafts, through 6,000 NCCER-accredited facilities. BIY is a recruitment initiative working to find the next generation of craft professionals and close the skills gap and labor shortage in the construction industry.

Malloy Ford Donates Auto Lift to Auto Service Tech Program

Malloy Ford donated an automotive twin post lift to Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center’s (CATEC) Automotive Service Technology program in August. When Malloy Ford moved from its Pantops location to its new 2070 Seminole Trail space, it was an easy decision to donate to the Auto Service Tech program its retired lift. A CATEC Auto Service Tech Advisory Board member and Malloy Ford representative knew that the program’s current lift was not meeting the program’s needs and thought their lift would be a great addition to CATEC’s shop. Auto Service Tech Instructor Matt Richardson says the new lift will “bring real life experiences to students entering the automotive industry after graduation.”

Active in CATEC’s Auto Service Tech Advisory Board

Last year, Malloy Ford gave the Auto Service Tech program two complete engines on which students will practice their skills taking apart the engines. Malloy Ford is very active in CATEC’s Auto Service Tech Advisory Board, including participating in its interview events and hiring current and recent program graduates. In September, Malloy Ford hired current Auto Service Tech second year student, Alex Wiesniewski, to work in its service shop. CATEC’s Auto Service Technology classes use Ford’s Automotive Career Exploration program to educate students to service Ford vehicles. This web-based program gives students the opportunity to study a similar curriculum currently taught to dealership technicians. Ford has recognized CATEC as a school that has a 95% program participation rate.

The Auto Service Tech program boasts a robust enrollment, with students earning 25 dual-enrollment college credits from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Students earn college credits for curriculum including automotive systems, climate control, electricity, and engine repair, and braking systems. Students also earn up to 10 Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) industry credentials. ASE industry testing is specially designed to evaluate and certify students who are studying in the automotive service industry. The ASE Education Foundation, in partnership with career and technical education advocate SkillsUSA, developed the exams to help students access professional credentials. They are a first step for students interested in building a career as an automotive service professional because they earn their first industry-recognized certifications before graduating from high school. These credentials make CATEC Auto Service Tech students marketable to local shops both during and after graduation.

A Newly-Accredited Program

CATEC’s Auto Service Tech program just completed its five-year National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF) accreditation. NATEF’s accreditation process is designed to evaluate the automotive service program’s structure, processes, resources, materials, and mission. Successful programs are built on collaboration between the instructor, industry experts, students, and community support. CATEC’s Auto Service Tech Advisory Board, which Malloy Ford has been a strong supporter of, encourages our program and bridges the gap between real world industry needs and classroom curriculum. On average, Virginia boasts a higher annual income for automotive service technicians than the national average with a projected 11% job growth.

CATEC Registered Apprenticeship Student Example of Success in the Skilled Trades

Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) Second Year Electrical Apprentice Adrian Rosas is taking advantage of all career opportunities CATEC has to offer in the skilled trades. Rosas was a 2017-2018 Building Trades student who knew he had a passion for electrical work, having worked in the construction industry with his family. Building Trades and Electrical Instructor Sidney Trimmer says Rosas “told me the day he showed up for Building Trades he wanted to be an electrician.” Rosas was able to parlay his passion for electrical work into a Youth Registered Apprenticeship and has returned to CATEC for two more years as an electrical student. He is currently enrolled as an Electrical III student and works for Design Electric in its Prefab department.

Award-Winning Student

Rosas received college credit from Piedmont Virginia Community College while enrolled in the Building Trades program. During this time, he competed in SkillsUSA competitions and obtained his OSHA-10 certification. He studied the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Core Curriculum, a program secondary career and technical education students take that cover topics related to safety, communication, and construction drawing, and earned the NCCER CORE credential. Success in this program affords students basic skills to continue their education in the skilled trades. Specifically, for Rosas, his NCCER training counts towards his Apprenticeship related technical instruction. 

In the spring of 2018, Rosas was encouraged take part in Design Electric’s “Boot Camp.” This event exposed CATEC Building Trades and Electrical students, as well as community adults, to various skills and professional qualities needed to be successful in the Electrical field. Students who attended learned a particular skill and then had to perform a task related to that skill. Attendees were required to show proficiency in reading a tape measure and knowledge in safety protocols. Select attendees were offered employment with Design Electric and would have the opportunity to be Registered Apprentices. Design Electric is a growing electrical contractor specializing in large projects in central and western Virginia. Design Electric’s Casey Carwile says “having skilled electrical workers is vital to the bottom line in providing our customers with good, quality commercial electrical installations. Producing great, quality workers is what we do at Design Electric.”

Becoming a Youth Registered Apprentice

Rosas was selected to be a Youth Registered Apprentice with Design Electric. Rosas says “I am very honored to have had the help from Mr. Trimmer, Mrs. Tomlin, and Mrs. Jay at CATEC. They really helped push me into a direction of the Apprenticeship program. Seeing how far I have come really amazes me.” Trimmer says Rosas was a good candidate for the program because he “doesn’t mind working hard.” Design Electric’s Carwile says Rosas has a “good work ethic, willingness to learn, and is teachable. Adrian is willing to try new things, is a good team player, and prides himself on providing quality electrical components.” In May 2019, Rosas and Design Electric participated in the SkillsUSA and Klein Tools National Signing Day. CATEC was selected as a hosting school to celebrate skilled trades students’ commitment to apprentice for local employers.

Working as a Youth Registered Apprentice requires a lot of commitment and hard work. But, Rosas approaches it as “hard work does pay off!” Three days a week he works 10-hour days at Design Electric. Two days a week he rises at 6:00 am and works for Design Electric until noon each day. In the afternoon, Rosas attends Monticello High School for his required academic classes. Then once a week for three hours, he takes Adult Education Electrical courses at CATEC. He receives high school credit for attending CATEC during his work day also gets paid for his work at Design Electric; a true “earn as you learn” model of instruction. Of all of this commitment, Rosas says “attending work, high school, and night classes for my Journeyman license can be a lot for someone, but I think about it as this is my goal and my future and something I look forward to doing.”

Getting on the Job Training

As a Youth Registered Apprentice, Rosas’s work experiences consist of on-the-job training, including 8,000 hours required for Electricians, and 144 hours per year of related technical skills instruction. Youth Registered Apprenticeships provide valuable work-based learning opportunities for youth with academic and workplace curriculum that leads to post-secondary education options and careers. Businesses, workforce professionals, and educators see Youth Registered Apprenticeships as an effective way to start high school students on a career path that leads to good wages and advancement opportunities. Carwile says the Apprenticeship program helps Design Electric because the company is “able to get a head start on training quality electricians that will be good installers of commercial electrical components.” 

A Licensed Electrician at Age 20

Carwile believes Rosas’s time at CATEC helped him transition to his apprenticeship experience easily because “CATEC and Design Electric work well together. CATEC is a good community partner because it takes students interested in the skilled trades and gives them a path to that job.” When Rosas graduates from high school in 2020, he will only have two years remaining until he is able to take his Journeyman exam to become a licensed electrician, a remarkable feat for a 20-year-old to accomplish. Rosas appreciates his time at CATEC saying it “is a great learning experience. It prepared me with skills to use out in the work field. It also offered a learning experience I couldn’t get at my base school. I got the opportunity to learn something that I was interested in making a career out of.”

News & Events

  • September 30 – October 1: SkillsUSA State Fair of Virginia
  • October 8: Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation for our Environmental Education and Stewardship Grants Program Presentation 10:00 am
  • October 15: Center Board and Joint Board Meeting 5:00 pm
  • October 22: CATEC Health and Medical Sciences Red Cross Blood Drive 9:00-3:00
  • October 25: CATEC Fall Festival
  • October 30-31: 10th Grade Career Fair UVA Newcomb Hall 8:00-2:00
  • November 5: ACPS Parent-Teacher Conferences
  • November 18: Southwest Cosmetology Festival
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break
  • December 10: Center Board Meeting 6:00
  • December 23, 2019: January 3, 2020: Winter Break