As college tuitions continue to rise, a growing number of students are seeing the benefits of technical training, and are taking advantage of the public high school offerings at The Lancaster County Career & Technology Center. Over the past five years, the LCCTC has seen a surge in student interest in the areas of Welding, Diesel Technology, and Medical Assistant Training. All of these industries allow graduates the opportunity to earn a median salary between 38,270-54,360/ year following certification*. As a result, LCCTC alums are able to avoid the burden of student debt and immediately step into a career. Due to consistent and growing interest in these fields, the LCCTC is making moves that will allow an increased number of students to participate in these programs as demand continues to grow.
With three Lancaster campuses that serve the county secondary (high school) population since 1971, expanding each of these areas requires a careful game of Tetris to ensure students’ educational needs are being met while making the most of limited space, and constantly keeping an eye on what programs are relevant to future student interest and success. Before making institutional changes, our administrative team and Joint Operating Committee examine data going back five years to ensure that interest in a program is following a consistent upward trend. In the same regard, the choice to suspend programming is based on data that proves a marked decline in interest and industry demand.
In the ’19- ’20 School year, the Advanced Health Careers Program was moved to the Mount Joy Campus to make way for additional Intro to Health classes at our Brownstown Campus. There, the former cosmetology space was converted into an Intro to Health classroom. The Intro to Health Class serves as an entry point to our Medical Assistant, Dental Assistant, and Advanced Health Careers programs. Following that expansion, similar changes were made at the Willow Street campus during the ’21- ‘22 school year. At Willow Street, the expansion into the former Cosmetology space made room for additional Intro to Health classes and increased the enrollment in the Medical Assistant program from 25 seats to 50 seats in total. This significantly whittled down the waitlist for incoming students. As of June 2023, only three students are currently waiting for a spot in the program.
Following this success, The CTC moved forward to expand the popular Welding program. This effort required an investment of nearly ¾ of a million dollars in a new welding lab on the Willow Street Campus to be used for the 3-year pilot program. A partnership with High Industries and the LCCT Foundation provided an additional $40,000 over the past two years. These funds were used to purchase materials and consumables for the facility and curriculum. Prior to the 3-year program, Welding students would typically enter the CTC in their Senior Year. Following its first year of operation in ‘22- ‘23, the program accommodated 16 students, a number that will double to an added 32 seats for and in ‘23- ‘24 school year. Once fully operational in its 3rd year, the Welding expansion at Willow Street will be able to add a total of 48 students in addition to the 40 seats available at the Mount Joy Campus.
On the docket for the ‘23- ‘24 School year is an expansion of the Diesel Program at Willow Street, which currently has a waitlist of 35 students. To make room for this expansion, our Powersports Technology program was moved to the Brownstown Campus. During the year the space formerly occupied by Powersports Technology will be renovated to provide students with industry-level facilities to learn the trade in a professional environment. The expanded Diesel program will be open to students in the ‘24- ‘25 school year. Additionally, plans are being implemented for LCCTC’s Central Office to move to the Lion’s Club building adjacent to our Willow Street Campus in 2026, following the end of the Lion’s Club lease in 2024. This move will open up valuable space on our Willow Street Campus for further program growth.
The LCCTC has been serving the 16 districts in Lancaster County for over 50 years and is making careful moves to ensure we can continue to provide our students with the best opportunities for technical training for years to come. These changes have already led to an increase in the total capacity of students over our three campuses. From 2018 our available seats have grown from 1565 students to 1719 students in 2023. The fill rate has also increased, from 1419 students enrolled in April 2018 to 1650 students enrolled as of June 2023. This means We have filled 95% of our seats for the ‘23- ‘24 school year, with the goal of reaching 100% capacity in the future. The LCCTC will continue to evaluate statistics and trends, adjust our offerings to keep pace with local and national industries and make investments in new areas as needed.
* Median Salary figures based on local estimates provided by O*Net Online.