PRC Career and Technology Center gives students a boost

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 8, 2015

The Career and Technical Education Center at Pearl River Central is making a difference in the lives of students.
The career center offers six programs each lasting two years.
One of the programs offered at PRC’s career center is power and machinery, where the students learn how to weld, work on small engines and small mechanical vehicles such as lawn mowers or tractors.
Joseph Miller, a 17-year-old student enrolled in the program set to graduate early, said this program has been a huge help to him.
“I’ve always loved working on cars, so it has helped me significantly better understand what goes into fixing an engine,” said Miller
Food products is another program offered at the center. In this program, students learn the process of slaughtering and processing animals and how to package meat. According to director Kelli Beech, this will be the last year PRC will offer the food products course. Next year the course will be converted into culinary arts. However, students who are currently enrolled in food products I will be allowed to finish the course next year, Beech said.
Horticulture is another program offered at the career center. PRC has a contract with the city of Picayune where all the plants and flowers grown by the students in this program go to help the city’s beautification process, said Beech.
Early childhood education is also offered at the career center. In this program students get a look at early childhood education. This past year the program opened a daycare, which is not only open to the faculty at PRC but also to the community. Beech said the daycare has been very helpful to the staff.
“It has been wonderful, because it’s allowed us to have our teachers children here which is very convenient,” said Beech.
Information technology is another program offered at the career center. At the end of year one in this course students take the STRATA test, and at the end of year two they take the MTA test. If they pass these tests, they will graduate from high school with two national certifications, which enables them to get a job right out of high school, said Beech.
Danny O’Neill, a student in the information technology course, likes the fact that he can take what he is learning now beyond high school.
“In the future, when people need help with their computer I can help them,” O’Neill said.
Health science is the final program offered at the career center. In this program, students learn about health fields such as nursing, physical therapy and dentistry. The second year students in this program intern once a week at Highland Community Hospital, said Beech.
In the four years Beech has been at PRC she has updated all six programs pertaining to the curriculum and the equipment used, and is looking forward to adding new programs in the near future.

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