UNION — The Union County Board of School Trustees received information about possible additions to curriculum as well as the current mechatronics program during Monday night’s meeting.
Career and Technology (CATE) Center Director Kevin Morrow spoke to the board about potential additions to course offerings at the center. Morrow explained that UCHS Guidance Director Jim Palmer conducted surveys with all four students, and from the results of those surveys, Morrow asked board members to consider the addition of two programs to the CATE Center curriculum — cosmetology and protective services.
Morrow said that during the survey process, students were asked to sign up for the classes in the event they were offered. He said 48 students signed up for cosmetology and 22 students signed up for protective services.
Morrow said start-up costs for a cosmetology program would be around $80,000-$90,000, which would include 15-18 chairs, mirrors, set-up stations, supplies, two manicure stations and a reception area. Those costs would not include structural costs such as plumbing or floor covering.
Morrow said start-up costs for a protective services program would be around $30,000-35,000. He said start-up costs for a protective services program are considerably lower than those of a cosmetology program because much of the equipment can be donated by local fire departments and EMS. Morrow said while hand-me-down equipment may not be usable for public service, it would be suitable for teaching. He said that nearby high schools with similar protective services programs use donated items. Morrow also said Spartanburg Community College can offer dual credit courses in the way of EMS.
Morrow also pointed out that the CATE Center has suitable classrooms for both programs. He said with the help of Financial Officer Lynn Lawson, he estimated salary amounts for teachers of each program to be around $46,000.
While Morrow had the floor, Superintendent Dr. Kristi Woodall asked him to update board members about the school’s mechatronics program.
Morrow compared the field to workers who were “fixers” in local mills of the past, as far as being versatile and much needed. He said mechatronics involves training in multiple areas, and students will know how to control and repair robotics used in local industries such as Gestamp, BMW and Timken.
Morrow said in many cases, students hired straight out of school are earning $40 per hour, and it is not uncommon for them to make $100,000 salaries after only a couple of years.
“Seeing greasy people that work on machines will be a thing of the past,” Morrow said, as he explained that companies are looking for students who are successful in math and science.
“These are high-paying, highly sought after jobs,” he said. “They can’t train them and get them in there fast enough.”
Morrow discussed what he had seen and questions he had asked while touring Gestamp. He used the example that Gestamp may pay people from outside sources $100 per hour for doing the work. He said they have no choice because when a machine goes down, it costs them thousands of dollars per hour in production.
At the time this edition of The Union Daily Times was to go to print, Monday’s meeting of the Union County Board of School Trustees was still in progress. Look for more information regarding the meeting in upcoming editions and on www.uniondailytimes.com.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.