EDUCATION Choffin coordinator: It's never too early

Three new 'tech-prep' courses will be offered next year.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The time to plant the seed in thinking about a long-term career should be long before you don a cap and gown and walk up to receive your high school diploma.
It should begin in kindergarten.
That was the message Dr. Brent Wolf delivered to city school board members at a recent meeting.
Wolf, career development coordinator at Choffin Career & amp; Technical Center, said that the career center offers awareness activities for pupils in kindergarten through grade five. The activities are designed to help children understand what a career is as well as some of the types of jobs that are available, he said.
Those in grades six through eight have career exploration activities that allow them to develop an Individual Career Plan, which outlines high school course work that's related to possible career goals. All eighth-graders complete an ICP, which can be amended or changed during high school, Wolf noted.
Ninth-graders are given tests to reassess their aptitudes and interests to see if they match and determine what changes may need to be implemented, Wolf said.
For high school students, planning activities help them take appropriate class work tailored to post-high school plans and careers.
Career passports are given to graduates; the passports contain their diploma, school transcripts, a r & eacute;sum & eacute; and achievement and other awards, Wolf continued.
For some specialized careers, the center will be offering three new "tech-prep" courses beginning next year in addition to the five already in place, said Principal Joe Meranto. The courses are a collaboration between the career center and Youngstown State University in which students in grades 11 and 12 receive high school and college credit, he explained.
The three courses are pre-engineering, to give students a look at various engineering careers; a teacher preparation course for those interested in teaching high school math, science or technology; and a biotechnology course for district students who excel in math and science.
For seventh- and eighth-graders interested in a business career, the center will offer a Career Pathways program, Meranto said.
Meranto called Choffin "a diamond in the rough" and said he wants to improve on the programs and courses already available to county residents.
"I want to make Choffin a true career center to training students and retraining adults," he said.
The career center will be hosting an open house to celebrate more than 50 years of education and community service. The event is from 1 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the center, 200 E. Wood St.