College, PCS Partner to Create New Training for High School Students

Keith Drury (third from left), department chair of PCC's Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration program, teaches high school students participating in the college's new Technical Academy about job opportunities in the HVAC field.

WINTERVILLE—A pilot program launched at Pitt Community College this fall is giving students from a pair of local high schools a unique opportunity to earn college credits and valuable workforce credentials.

According to PCC Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs Lori Preast, a collaboration between the college and Pitt County Schools has produced the PCC Technical Academy. The program, she said, is providing Computer Integrated Machining (CIM) and Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Technology (HVAC) training to students from Ayden-Grifton and South Central high schools.

“The PCC Technical Academy was started to assist high school students with career exploration and to gain college credits,” Preast said. “It also affords them a chance to earn a high-demand workforce credential and exposes them to diverse technical options that are not offered at the local high schools.”

Preast said PCC and PCS administrators began developing the academy during the 2017-18 academic year. To get the ball rolling, she said they established pilot certificate programs in CIM and HVAC that began with the start of fall classes in August, after drawing “substantial” student interest.

“Currently, the pilot program involves students from South Central and Ayden Grifton high schools,” Preast said. “However, we are all hoping these pilot opportunities will soon expand to other Pitt County high schools. The college is also hoping to create and offer additional certificate options for students to consider in the near future.”

In addition to increasing the number of Pitt County high schools and PCC programs involved, Preast said a long-term goal for the academy is to ensure programming addresses local workforce and industry needs.