Page 34 - 2022 Chester County Guide & CCCBI Membership Directory
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  West Chester University
Matching Student Skills to Employer Needs
As a business owner, you want the most highly qualified candidates for open positions. And if you’re a parent, you also want highly regarded school districts and innovative higher-education options. Chester County’s educational landscape delivers on all those counts.
Chester County is home to more than
a dozen public school districts — six of which are rated A+ by educational ranking site — and over 50 private and parochial schools.
Many of the county’s public, private and charter schools are served by the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), an organization that provides programs and services to enrich educational offerings for both students and adult learners. CCIU also operates three career and technical education (CTE) schools that provide students with a vast variety of skills for in-demand professions.
During the pandemic, CCIU worked hard to continue providing tactile learning
experiences for students. “We still had
at least 50% of students come in so they could touch the tools and materials,” said Dr. Kirk Williard, Director of CCIU’s Career, Technical & Customized Education division. “While those students were in the building, the other half were virtual and were able
to see the lesson at the same time. We also worked with families to make sure they had access to the technology.”
Some of the most in-demand CTE programs offered by CCIU are those in the healthcare field. “Our healthcare pathway programs
are fully enrolled,” Williard said. “Also, our construction trades, auto services, HVAC and carpentry have had consistently high enrollment. Clearly, the trades right now
are in need of new people coming in and doing those kinds of skilled jobs.”
CCIU’s leaders keep their fingers on
the pulse of what employers need by working with industry leaders on the Chester County Economic Development Council and by implementing feedback from occupational experts who advise CTE programs in the county. “Our [CTE] programs all have a minimum of five business owners working in the field that meet with the instructors twice a year to advise them on content and equipment,” said Williard. “They also tend to be a resource to donate equipment so that students are touching the right tools.”
For those Chester County students
who choose to go on to college after
high school, CCIU has dual-enrollment agreements with eight different college and universities. “Most of our seniors graduate with six, nine, 12 or more college
32 Chester County Chamber of Business & Industry

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