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The Penndulum

The Penndulum

Studies in the Tech School

UBCTS Exterior
Hudson Poe
UBCTS Exterior

Most students go to college after high school, hoping to further their education and increase their chances of getting a good job. However, an increasing number of students are turning to another path: technical education. At a glance, technical students may be considered less intelligent or less capable, but this is not so. Technical education provides many benefits that prepare students for their career paths, allowing them to get a job right after graduation. Aaron Ladd, a student studying construction technology at Upper Bucks County Technical School (UBCTS), explained why this would be the case. “Most kids right out of tech school go into the workforce. They just start out and make a lot of money.” There is more truth to this than many would think. Not only do students going into trades avoid student debt, but they also have an untapped field. The majority of competition for tech students comes from the baby boomer generation.

According to Michael Herrera, the Executive Director at UBCTS, “The pandemic has shown the value of the trades as many of those are essential workers.” That is to say, there is a widely recognized need for trades and Gen Z has the chance to take advantage. This does not mean that all technical students choose trades. Ladd, for example, plans to go to Wilkes University to study Construction Engineering. There are also many more programs besides mechanical engineering, including cooking, law enforcement, health care, cosmetology, and more. “Our students earn industry-recognized certifications and college credits through agreements with area colleges and learn their technical skills on the same equipment used in the industry. We work closely with our sending districts to ensure students receive the coursework to prepare them for college or careers,” Herrera clarified. This means that students who choose to go to college still have an advantage and that the skills they learn in the technical school transfer to college classes, meaning that these students would not have to take as many credits.

The bakery at UBCTS (Hudson Poe)

Walking through UBCTS, it is clear that everyone is intent on their work. According to Jennifer Rubin, who is one of the guidance counselors at UBCTS, “There’s a lot that goes into it besides hands-on. There’s a lot of bookwork. Everyday students are doing theory.” Every class offers both a theory and hands-on component, ensuring that the students both know how to do their tasks, while also getting the opportunity to practice first-hand. According to Ladd, the grades are not based on tests and assignments, but on skills development and self-improvement. UBCTS also has its own restaurant, bakery, and cosmetology sections open to the public. In the small engines and auto shops, there are many real vehicles where students can work on different procedures and learn about fixing engines and cars. The law enforcement department offers practice for the ASVAB tests and brings in military recruiters to help students on their career paths.

More often, students are sent out on jobs in the community, including various internships and other opportunities. For example, healthcare students get to visit clinics and help take care of patients while also learning about the career they are pursuing. Ladd has an internship with Ludwig Renovations, where he mainly renovates kitchens. He has also helped the company with projects like an addition to a house, where he helped dig out the foundation holes and got the chance to build it up from scratch. “It’s fun because you’re really at school, but you’re making money while you’re learning,” Ladd stated.

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to attending UBCTS as a Pennridge student. For example, you cannot take other electives at the high school while going to the technical school. Ladd had been in the middle school band but had to give that up to go to the technical school. Ultimately, however, he feels that he made the right decision in receiving a technical education.

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About the Contributor
Hudson Poe, Student Writer
Hudson Poe, Grade 12. Hudson enjoys strategy games, logic puzzles, sci-fi movies, spending time with his family, and math. He is an active member in NHS and FCA. He plans to go to a currently undetermined college to study physics and hopes to get a master's degree in this field.

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