MEXICO — The Vocational Region 9 board on Wednesday night learned about the truck driving and employability skills programs at the School of Applied Technology.

Directors are holding the presentations to learn more about programs before developing the budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14.

Employability skills provides students in Grades 9 to 12 the opportunity to try each vocational program, instructors Jen Barlow and Norm Jamison said. The goal is to find a skill that each student may want to pursue.

Barlow said nearly 20 percent of all Region 9 students participated in the program before enrolling in one of the nine vocational programs.

The program also prepares students for the workforce, Jamison said. This year, 25 are enrolled.

Ed Naples, truck driving instructor for at least 30 years at Region 9, said this year’s enrollment includes 28 high school students and 67 adults.

“There’s a driver shortage,” he said. His contacts with trucking businesses and other organizations have indicated a need for more certified drivers. “There are good opportunities out there.”

Naples and his assistant teach classes for school bus, firetruck, dump truck and tractor-trailer drivers.

Gammon said she will soon meet with the administrators of Vocational Region 11 in Paris, SAD 44 in Bethel and RSU 10 in Dixfield to try to work out a 2013-14 school calendar to meet state requirements.

In other matters Wednesday:

* The board awarded the contract for drainage repairs to the east side of the school to JDM Excavation LLC of Dixfield at a cost of $3,000. Board member Paul Handlen said the replacement of gravel should alleviate water getting into the basement.

* Student Services coordinator Cheryl Ellis announced that 2013 color calendars featuring each of the school’s vocational programs will be available for purchase by the first of December. The calendars are created by graphics arts students. Proceeds will go toward student scholarships. To reserve one, call 364-3764.

* SkillsUSA officers told the board about several leadership programs they are attending on topics such as public speaking, community service, fundraising and the duties of officers. Buckets asking for donations to help sponsor students who attend such events will be placed in several businesses in the Rumford, Dixfield and Bethel areas.

* Metal works instructor Pete Barlow was honored by the board and staff for being chosen as Maine’s Career and Technical Educator of the Year.



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