In Plain Sight: Career Center offers educational opportunities
COLUMBIA — The Columbia Area Career Center offers a variety of classes giving career and technical training for students ages 10 to 100.
Randy Gooch is the director of the Columbia Area Career Center. He said there are a lot of opportunities for kids in the summer, both for high school students and adults looking to get career training outside of the standard classroom setting.
"We do a good job of engaging our students, and that's done because of some of the hands-on, problem-based learning we have them do," Gooch said. "With that, we always try to connect that to something that is relevant beyond just what we are working on."
CACC releases a list of course offerings and prices twice per year for those seeking professional and community education.
The courses vary in price and time commitment depending on the process and class. There are opportunities ranging from real estate salesperson licensing courses to English language education.
Gooch spoke about one success story from the laser photonics program that went "full-circle."
"Our program had kind of shrunk and we had the retirement of a long term teacher," Gooch said. "We had the chance to hire a student that had gone through that program who had been working in industry for awhile."
"Any time you have something that we say we are preparing a student for the world of work, they go out to the world of work, but they still want to come back and teach that and pass that same thing they got here. I think that's a tremendous success story," Gooch said.
Carri Risner is a culinary arts teacher at CACC. Her program and similar culinary programs are some of the most popular programs at the school.
She remembered a student she just recently had in her class who showed particular dedication to the subject, and that dedication paid off.
"Jasmine is a student who has really only been involved in culinary for two years but just dove in feet first, embraced it," Risner said. "I think she is almost motivated more by the work involved. Knowing that the more she puts into it, the more she will get out of it."
"This girl has boundless energy and desire to take on and learn everything she can," Risner said. "Coming over and not knowing any English at all and really working toward lots of different goals is really inspiring to see."
CACC also offers a summer program for kids ages 10 to 14. Gooch said this program is growing in popularity and presents the students with a unique blend of learning, fun and competition.
The summer camps, called Career Cruise, run from June 6 to July 29.