January 30, 2023
Story by Maggie Harris
Barton Community College has offered dual credit courses at Larned High School since the early 2000s. Because of this partnership, some of LHS’s teachers are also Barton adjunct faculty. Students can enroll in general education courses such as college-level math and English to help get a head start on their college coursework. Now carpentry has joined the lineup.
Carpentry has been available to LHS students for decades, but since Adam Hewson became an adjunct instructor for Barton, classes like Introduction to Craft Skills and Carpentry Basics are available to students for college credit without ever having to leave LHS. Students can continue learning in a familiar environment, pick up a new skill and get a jump start on a certificate while they’re at it.
“When I returned to teaching three years ago, I found many things had changed in the world of career and technical education,” he said. “One of the largest changes was the push by the state to graduate students from high school with meaningful and nationally recognized credentials.”
In response, Hewson set out to obtain certification from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), which is the same certification the Barton faculty hold. The construction industry nationally recognizes NCCER as a leader in training, assessment and certification.
Hewson said his classes teach basic skills to students, like hand tool usage and identification, as well as employability and communication skills. Forty-three students were enrolled during the fall semester and most could utilize Barton’s EXCEL in CTE program to take the course tuition free.
“What I like best about this program is that it is nationally recognized,” he said. “NCCER has a national registry that employers use to look up a student's credentials,” he said. “Each student is issued an ID number and a wallet card. An employer can put this number in the computer and see exactly what certifications the student has completed.”
Once students complete both classes at LHS, they are almost halfway toward earning their certificate in carpentry at Barton. These students can continue the program following high school graduation to pick up four additional courses and graduate with a certificate and other industry credentials.
“As I tell my students, it has always been my goal to stay local but if you do not necessarily want to stay in central Kansas, these certifications give you a great opportunity to connect with employers outside of the area,” he said. “You will have the training they are looking for, so you can start a skilled career right out of high school.”
For more information, contact Coordinator of Community Education Karly Little at email@example.com or (620) 792-9294