The Construction Technology course and the Property Maintenance course at Pickens Technical College prepare students for a job working safely and productively on things that matter to people. When people in the Denver-Aurora area need their roofs redone, for example, they call Academy Roofing, a local company just down the road from Pickens itself.
PTC’s Construction Technology program is headed by Greg Shamburg. He and others at PTC have relationships with many local businesses in the area that regularly hire PTC students. Academy Roofing is always looking for new workers, especially those who have some experience under their belts—experience they always get from their instructors at PTC.
Academy Roofing’s Human Resources Manager Robert Ritter participates in PTC’s job fairs to get face-time with potential new recruits. “We always have work,” he says. “I’m trying to hire all the time.” Ritter often finds successful workers at the job fairs PTC puts on. He says that workers from PTC tend to be successful because “they’ve done the hands-on job” for hours before they don the Academy Roofing uniform and got to work on their clients’ houses in the area.
In a job like roofing, which necessitates a degree of trust between the homeowners and the workers in and around that home, Ritter says that “basic human skills” count. “They don’t need a big truck with all kinds of construction tools,” he says, because Academy Roofing provides them all the equipment and training they need to be safe on the jobsite. And safety is another draw for skilled roofers who have cut their teeth at PTC before they enter the workforce.
Aside from some basic abilities to measure and keep numbers in one’s head, Academy Roofing does all the training for new employees, teaching them how to do their jobs safely and efficiently. With the tools to be great, Ritter calls one recent PTC graduate and addition to the Academy Roofing family a “great addition to our staff.”
With opportunities for new roofers at Academy Roofing opening all the time, PTC graduates have an advantage for entry-level positions that can quickly turn into even greater opportunities over time.
Many Pickens students go right to the Construction Technology program for a career with a local company like Academy Roofing after they graduate because of its all-inclusive approach to covering all aspects of construction job sites and how the process works. From blueprint reading to power tool use and safety, students get the skills they need to work for a company like Academy Roofing.
But you don’t need to take Construction Technology to get going at Academy Roofing. Ritter is happy to add hardworking graduates from the Property Maintenance Technician program and even the Heating and Air Conditioning program. These programs require hours of hands-on training and an understanding of how to properly use heavy and sophisticated equipment to get their various jobs done. Ritter and the team at Academy Roofing could always use workers who know how to get various jobs done.
Pickens Technical College focuses on providing all of its students with a full set of skills they can use in their future careers. The Medical Assistant Program is a popular program designed to provide students with both front office and back office skills. Pickens medical assistant program is different than most medical assistant programs because it offers hands on experience in both the administrative role and clinical role.
Instructor Kelly Pruett helps her students understand their role in the medical system and how they can help people in their new careers after they complete her course. Medical assistants are often called upon to help in many different medical situations for patients. They take vital signs, record medical histories, and complete the vital administrative and clinical tasks of a medical office. Duties vary by office, but Pruett makes sure to keep her students trained in how most offices in the Colorado system operate to prepare them for local jobs in the healthcare sector, which is booming with opportunity.
It is important medical assistants know their role in the health care setting because they are the key players being the first person to meet with the patient. Providing a welcoming atmosphere is crucial in providing proper health care. Another crucial aspect is keeping the office organized. If medical histories are crossed up, patients are endangered. Doctors and nurses need medical histories of their patients and they need their information to be recorded accurately. In addition to the day-to-day administrative tasks that medical assistants perform every day, they also need to make patients feel comfortable so they are at ease during the visit. It is important the medical assistant advocates for their patients. All of these crucial functions are how medical assistants make the healthcare system work in Colorado and throughout the United States.
Staff is dedicated to inspire education. Our mission is to make sure our students fully understand what you can expect from a fast-paced life long career as a Medical Assistant. Our program is run in such a way that teaches you everything you need to know to be successful in the health care setting. Pickens gives you the practice to be confident in the real world setting.
Pruett’s class isn’t just about holding hands and smiling at patients when they come in. PTC’s Medical Assistant Program gives students the hard skills to perform at the highest possible level. These skills are what healthcare systems look for when they hire and promote assistants—skills that provide students upward mobility in addition to a line on a resume and the training to take a job in the healthcare sector. Pruett makes sure all of her students are prepared to help others and be the face of healthcare centers in their communities.
The redesigned Small Business Management program at Pickens Technical College prepares students for employment in an office setting or another business environment by putting an emphasis on computer skills, e-commerce, and entrepreneurship. Both college-bound or office-bound students receive skills in their area of emphasis, so they can go on to earn four-year or master’s business degrees, or if they wish, get started on their own business idea.
Running a small business in any economy or industry takes a skillset that is best learned in a small class with as much teacher-student interaction as possible. All classes in the Pickens Tech Business Department are kept small intentionally to allow for the most student-teacher interaction and individual learning time as possible.
In addition to the normal subjects covered in all business classes, such as finance, ethics and values, supervision, management, etc., experienced and successful business expert Jennifer Cronk-Cross teaches students in her new class how to read and analyze market forces, how to manage risk, and how to set up successful e-commerce systems: everything a new small business owner needs in their toolkit to succeed in their own industry producing their own useful products and services.
This new direction for business management at PTC emphasizes the struggles that small, independent organizations often face in their own markets and industries. While many small business owners love the freedom and the rush of running their own growing organizations, they often face challenges on all sides. At PTC, Cronk-Cross and her team put students in position to prepare themselves for the challenges they’ll face after they start their entrepreneurial journey. By giving students the time they need to meet with their instructors and handle situations they will face after they graduate, students can rest assured they’ll be prepared for the next step.
Running any small business these days takes a great deal of courage. Change is the only constant for entrepreneurs as they navigate the potential pitfalls in front of them. Competition is fierce in almost any industry. In order to be prepared for this uncertainty, students have to have confidence in their abilities. Confidence can’t be instilled unless it’s based on experience and practice. Cronk-Cross makes sure all of her students have the opportunity to gain the experience they need to succeed in the real world. The emphasis on building an e-commerce presence sets future small business owners up for success in this rapidly changing business environment. As new technology sweeps through all industries with new ways of managing finances, people, commodities, and more, students graduating from PTC’s Small Business Management program will be prepared not only for market disruption, but to use these new tools to make their processes and systems better for the future. Small business management today takes agility and a willingness to dare to dream bigger and fly higher. PTC’s Small Business Management program under Cronk-Cross gives students the best chance to fulfill their dreams and reach their goals as successful small business owners.
Academy Roofing is a local roofing contractor based in Aurora, Colorado. They have built a reputation over their nearly forty-year history as one of the premier roofing companies in the state. And they love students from Pickens Technical College’s Construction Technology and Property Maintenance programs.
Both the Construction Technology and Property Maintenance programs at PTC prepare students to work on properties in various ways. Construction Technology is taught by Greg Shamburg, who has spent the last twenty-nine years teaching at PTC. After learning in Shamburg’s classroom and by working on real projects, many students become cost estimators, building inspectors, construction managers, and specialized tradesmen and women. Students can earn both their Construction Technology Certificate and their Advanced Methods Certificate in construction after completing their course in Construction Technology.
PTC’s Property Maintenance program gives students the entry-level skills to perform inspections, complete preventative maintenance, and complete repairs on residential and commercial properties. After completing their Property Maintenance course, students can earn a Property Maintenance Certificate, which they can use to find a job in the construction or maintenance fields.
Academy Roofing looks for skilled workers in the construction field to give their community the best possible service in the roofing industry. In the state of Colorado, having a sturdy roof you can rely on is essential. For both residential and commercial customers across the state, Academy Roofing is there to help choose the right plan for their needs and budget.
According to Academy Roofing, “Your home is your castle. You want to make sure it’s not only up to code, but will last for as long as you own your home. In addition to new roof replacement and repairs, we offer a wide selection of products…”
These products include gutter installation and cleaning services, insulation installation for roofs, walkable deck systems, and more. This wide range of services and products demands professionals familiar with working on these kinds of projects. Students in PTC’s Property Maintenance and Construction Technology programs come out well-equipped to handle these projects and more.
Many of Academy Roofing’s customers are businesses throughout the state. Academy needs workers who can work with asphalt roofs, tile roofs, metal and fabricated metal roofs, metal wall panels, and more. Academy knows it can rely on students from PTC because they come from their Construction Technology and Property Maintenance courses with a well-established background in working with all of these materials.
An important part of any construction or maintenance job, especially with a local company, is customer service and communication. PTC students learn how to provide inspections and cost estimates while providing customers with their best, most cost-effective options. Working alongside other students and with the instructor builds teamwork and communication skills that go a long way in any construction job, especially roofing jobs with Academy Roofing.
Academy Roofing is one of the many local businesses lining up to hire PTC students. They know that PTC students come with experience and skill, and they are happy to help local workers find local jobs.
Last school year, the Precision Machining department at Pickens Technical College changed its name to Advanced Manufacturing because it’s no longer all about machining in this field. With the use of advanced software, three-dimensional printers, laser engravers, and computer numerical control (CNC) equipment, the manufacturing sector is advancing quickly, leaving those without the training to use these new devices and equipment in the dust.
Instructors Michael Townsend and Sean Hennessy wanted to re-focus their curriculum on the new technology disrupting the manufacturing sector, especially in the United States. With a new course title came a new emphasis on preparing students for a career in this rapidly-changing environment.
With classes starting, the revamped Advanced Manufacturing department is ready to help students learn the new standards in this industry, which can offer excellent opportunities to all workers, even entry-level employees who want to move up and improve their careers over time. Townsend and Hennessy teach their students how to impress in the private sector by giving them the time they need to learn how to use CNC equipment, which involves proper programming, set-up, and operation to use to its fullest potential.
While CNC equipment and 3D printers unlock limitless potential for manufacturing designers and other professionals, using them correctly is not easy. With a new wave or students starting their education in advanced manufacturing, the industry will see more proficiency in using advanced technology and techniques to rethink what manufacturing processes can produce.
PTC is all about putting students in the driver’s seat when it comes to their education. The Advanced Manufacturing department at PTC gives students the opportunity to gain experience using new tools and processes in the Job Shop, where they produce customer products using the skills and theories they have learned. In an industry that has experienced large changes over a relatively short period of time, it’s critical that all entry-level workers get their foot in the door by gaining experience with their education. Books and classroom instruction are critical, but so is experience, and at PTC, students get both in the Advanced Manufacturing department.
Stop by the manufacturing classroom or shop to see what the students there are creating. Classes have begun for this year, but it’s never too late to make a change and begin the process of starting your career anew by gaining experience and education in this exciting field. Talk to Michael Townsend or Sean Hennessy and find out how they prepare students for the next step in their careers, and how to get a first-rate education in manufacturing that will get you a job. Both instructors have contacts and connections with local businesses that often look to PTC first when hiring new workers. Local machine shops and manufacturing businesses in the Denver area know they can trust PTC students to come in and do an excellent job because they already have experience with the advanced manufacturing techniques and processes that are now defining the industry.
There are several new faces in the Career Services Office at Pickens Technical College for the upcoming school year. They are here to help you find the perfect fit for your interests & career goals and then support your employment search or your next step in your education. Jenise Rosa, Raechel Anderson, and Lori Loretta are setting up shop to help you find a great career after PTC.
The Career Services Office helps students build their job-seeking skills, from interview preparation to resume writing, and build the network students need to succeed in their careers after PTC. The friendly staffers in the Career Services Office use the College Central Network to find opportunities to help students complete their training in one of PTC’s hands-on, career-focused classes, build their resume, and finding the perfect job for them.
I posed a few questions to Rosa, Anderson, and Loretta in Career Services Office to find out a little more about the services they provide to help you build your dream career. Here are a few of their responses.
First, as Jenise Rosa pointed out, the staffers are not career counselors, but rather career advisors, an important distinction. PTC’s career advisors will help you develop the tools you need to build your career with what you have now.
Rosa explained their role and how they achieve their goals to me:
“There are many facets to supporting students throughout this process…the first being to ensure that they are in the program that is the best fit for them based on their interest, skills, strengths, and their family. Throughout their program our team provides students with many resources and opportunities to guide them. Some of these include participation in: CTSOs (Career and Technical Student Organizations) which gives them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills at the district, state, and potentially national level, employment fairs, web-based job search engines (College Career Network), internships, job shadowing, etc.”
These professionals can help you with all aspects of your job search before and after you leave PTC, including “supporting students with resume writing and interview preparation all of which are integral and vital to a successful job search.”
Some of their biggest challenges this school year will dealing with all of the changes coming to the school and to help students by providing expanding services: “This year there are many changes that are being put in place at Pickens – we all know that change can be scary at times and that it is also critical for our changing and ever-evolving world. Our Career Services department will be working towards a more comprehensive support structure for our students in order to increase recruitment, retainment, engagement and employment.”
So the Career Services Office will become even more accessible and useful for students to get the right job for them after their time at PTC. In order to get the most out of this staff and all the help they can give you, check in with them, show your face, work with them to set yourself up for success after you have received all the training and education you need for a great career.
Polished Hair and Nails is a well-regarded hair and nails salon in Denver that demands excellence from its employees. Owner Lisa Hintgen provides fast, easy, yet relaxing hair and nail beauty services to her community near the border of Stapleton. “With everyone leading such busy lives, it is wonderful to be able to get your most important grooming services done at the same time,” she says.
Pickens Technical College is a great training ground for Polished Hair and Nails because its cosmetology program is dedicated to putting its students in real-world situations doing real work on real customers. Students in this program can also practice their skills by working at PTC’s very own salon, a great place for them to train and hone their skills, as well as get a beautiful manicure.
The PTC Cosmetology Program is designed to first train all students in the concepts and small skills they will need to work at a local business like Polished Hair and Nails, get their students the required number of hours and training to be certified as a cosmetology professional, and practice in real-world settings.
Instructor Shirleen Woods has 20 years of teaching experience and over 35 total years of experience in the cosmetology field. Her students are always prepared to get their start in the cosmetology field, and local companies like Polished Hair and Nails are happy to hire students from PTC’s cosmetology classrooms.
Some of Woods’ students took part in this year’s SkillsUSA program, a competition in all kinds of vocational skills that pits the best students in areas like cosmetology and even automotive proficiencies against each other. Three of Woods’ students made the national competition in cosmetology. Woods says that the competition, like her own classroom, “prepares the students for taking the State exam and a career in this field because the competition develops their ability to work under stressful conditions.” She says that her students have to “learn to be flexible and adaptable because clients may change their mind at the last minute regarding the service they want and as a professional you have to be ready to handle that gracefully.”
By the time you reach graduation from PTC’s Cosmetology Program, you’ll already be experienced in how to deal with difficult customers, how to make people happy with your nail and hair work, and even how to run a proper nail and hair business. This experience and skill is invaluable to Polished Hair and Nails owner Hintgen, who is always looking for skilled workers to put her business on the map and continue to grow in its community near Stapleton.
Polished Hair and Nails is one of the many businesses in the Denver area that greatly appreciates the professional skills that PTC students walk into the labor pool with. You can learn the skills that will get you a position with a local business at PTC. The Cosmetology Program is only one of many examples of PTC departments that link students directly to employers.
Pickens Technical College and its cosmetology program are highly involved in the community of Aurora and Denver, turning up to cut hair for the homeless or competing against other cosmetology students at the SkillsUSA competition held every year.
This year, several PTC cosmetology students participated in the highly skilled, highly competitive skills challenges and brought home some honors for their school and program.
The PTC cosmetology program prepares students not only to cut hair and make people look good, but also how to build the connections and relationships that will one day make their small nails and makeup business take off.
Teaching students in the cosmetology program is Shirleen Woods, a veteran teacher with 20 years of instruction experience under her belt and 35 years in the industry overall. Her clients don’t forget her, and even though she devotes her time to her students at PTC, she still sees a few long-time clients to help them with hair troubles. She teaches the Nail Technology program at PTC now after teaching at the Emily Griffin Opportunity School for ten years. She knows what it takes to be a successful nail, skin, and hair expert, and offers her students plenty of opportunities to practice and hone their skills.
And there may not be a better place for students to hone their skills in a competitive setting than by participating in SkillsUSA challenges. From state to national competitions, SkillsUSA pits students of many disciplines in technical and human services industries against each other for prizes and bragging rights. Training for these events is rigorous, and only the top students in each group succeed.
In the cosmetology section of SkillsUSA, students must demonstrate their technical skill in haircutting, hair styling, and long hair design in four independent tests. These contests are controlled and fair, with each student using mannequins each with the same type of hair. Students have to create a 90-degree woman’s haircut and a woman’s and man’s cut from a finished photo provided them. Students present their mannequin to the audience and the judges onstage.
These exciting skills competitions quickly teach students how they can improve and how the real business of cutting hair can be. Even working independently for their own businesses after graduation, they will be competing with others to show they can cut hair better.
PTC students showed well at the SkillsUSA competition a few weeks ago, with several students, including Leycha Albino , earning recognition in nail care, and others earning accolades in hair care and more.
With more students entering the cosmetology industry from PTC, there are bound to be more quality hair and nail care salons in the Denver area in the next few years. PTC students have proven their skill at these events time and time again. Their instructors and mentors couldn’t be more proud when their students show up and perform well against fierce competitors from around the state and around the country.
As a graduate of Pickens Technical College and one of its excellent nursing programs, Nurse Aide and Practical Nursing, you have many options open to you. PTC’s nursing programs prepare all students for long and lucrative careers in the medical field, and there are plenty of companies and organizations looking for qualified nurses to help them in Colorado alone.
Healthcare remains one of the fastest-growing industries in Colorado and across the country. Good nurses are still in short supply and the demand for qualified and specialized nurses is still strong.
One of the many Colorado organizations looking for qualified nurses coming out of PTC is the Visiting Nurse Association of Colorado (VNA).
The VNA delivers “care with integrity, expertise, and professionalism, respecting the dignity of every individual.” To the VNA, home health, hospice, and wellness services are the key to filling out the healthcare system so that all individuals can expect to be treated with respect and to have their best interests cared for. The VNA primarily concerns itself with the following health services:
- Community Wellness—clinics, mental health first aid, CPR training and more
- Immunizations and Biometrics—onsite clinics dealing with patients susceptible to the flu and pneumonia, and health risk assessments
- Personal Care—personal grooming and dressing assistance for the physically incapable
- Home Making Services—light housekeeping, meal prep, shopping, and nutrition assistance
- Skilled Nursing—wound care, medication management, and infusion therapy
- Rehabilitative Therapies—physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy
- Palliative Services—medical social workers, symptom and pain management
- Hospice Care—physical, psychological, and spiritual life-limiting illness care
In order to do all this in the community, the VNA needs more skilled nurses and medical workers.
PTC prepares students to enter organizations like this and make a difference. The VNA is the state’s leading nonprofit health care agency, working with people around the state and their families to reach everyone who needs care, regardless of their personal situation. As the healthcare system gets more and more technologically complex, with electronic medical records taking the place of doctor’s charts and clipboards, workers with experience in using new technology will be needed. That’s why the Nursing Aide program at PTC prepares students to handle new ways of providing ongoing care in extended care facilities, hospitals, and home health organizations like the VNA.
PTC graduates have bright futures ahead of them, no matter what they studied. Nursing aides and practical nurses will have an easier time finding employment opportunities than most, especially in Colorado. The VNA is one of many examples of healthcare organizations looking for qualified workers to help them in their important missions. If you’re looking for a good way to serve the community and get your career in healthcare started on the right foot, the VNA could be the answer for you. The VNA has a history of hiring PTC graduates for many positions helping people in the community solve their health issues and lead better, happier lives.
Pickens Technical College is proud to be involved in the Aurora Public Schools’ Executive Internship Program, providing students with real-world experience they can use in their future career. As you know by now from reading this blog, PTC is all about providing real-world experiences for all of its students with programs that emphasize a hands-on approach and teach students how to get a job in the field of their choice.
The Executive Internship Program (EIP) presents students with numerous awards, most notably $1000 in scholarships donated by EIP Advisory Board members. High school students Kourtney Grunlien and Emily Hanrehan earned $500 in scholarships each. Students were also recognized for their volunteer service experience. Twenty-four students who volunteered 100 hours earned Bronze awards, while Silver awards were given to nine students who volunteered 175 hours, and Gold awards were given to four students who volunteered 250 hours.
Interns in this program volunteer for at least 100 hours with sponsors and attend an additional sixty hours of instructional time in the classroom learning valuable workplace skills that translate to most industries. EIP sponsors gave students this school year real-world experiences and the opportunity to test out different career fields before committing to them.
The EIP has inspired many students to continue a different kind of education. One that prepares them for a working trade in less time (read: money) than a traditional, four-year institution. Earning a four-year degree is great, but for the students who want to work in a lucrative field like auto repair sooner rather than later, PTC is the place to learn a trade and gain experience working in that field along the way.
PTC is proud to be a part of the Aurora Public Schools community and loves to help students succeed in the Aurora Public Schools pipeline and beyond. Offering a worthy program like the EIP is one of the many ways PTC works within its surrounding community to help young people succeed.
The school year is over at PTC, but prospective students can apply for the EIP at their high school and learn how classes are taught at PTC, as well as what to expect in their professional lives after college there next year. There will likely be many participants in this program again, clamoring to get the same advantages that others in past EIP graduating classes have gotten. PTC hopes to see many more students involved in its Executive Internship Program going forward and keep putting students in the best position to succeed.
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