Career and Technical Education Week celebrated

February 9, 2012 

The Harrisonville School District’s career and technical school, Cass Career Center, is celebrating National Career and Technical Education Month in February. The Cass Career Center serves students from 11 different schools in 12 career and technical education programs.

In addition, the school is hosting numerous student and staff contests during the week and guest speakers in each program.

The programs offered at CCC include Automotive Technology, Agriculture, Business, Welding, Construction Technology, Marketing, Life Careers, Drafting, Information Systems Technology, Fire Science/EMT, and Health Sciences for secondary students; and Practical Nursing and Community Education classes for adults.

The Cass Career Center also offers its students the chance to earn math and English credits while enrolled in its programs. Many students who enroll in the school’s three-hour block classes need to also earn core credits in order to graduate from their home school. The CCC offers integrated, senior-level English and math credit. Students work with English and math teachers at CCC to complete additional English or math coursework which is above and beyond, but tied to their program coursework. By completing the requirements of the English 4 and Math 4, students can earn one credit each.

Another career and technical program, which is a joint effort of Cass Career Center and Harrisonville High School, is the Project Lead the Way program. This series offers a hands-on approach to teaching engineering, biomechanics, aeronautics and other applied math and science topics.

Those schools served by CCC include Harrisonville, Archie, Adrian, Belton, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North, Lee’s Summit West, Lone Jack, Midway, Pleasant Hill, and Raymore-Peculiar.

Hayden Smith, a senior from Pleasant Hill High School, is a second-year student in the Cass Career Center’s Automotive Technology program.

“I’ve always had an interest in cars and when I heard about this program, I wanted to enroll so that I could learn more about them,” he said.

The Automotive Technology program is a two-year program. One year focuses on automobile and chassis design, automotive electricity, breaks, and testing electrical systems. The second year focuses on fuel systems, wheel suspension systems, tune-up procedures, and emissions systems. In addition, students are trained and tested in shop and equipment safety.

“This training has taught me how to balance a tire, change the oil, resurface my rotars, and swap an engine,” Smith said.

The coursework is aligned with and prepares the students to take the NATEF/ASE student certification exam.

Smith said his future plans include taking advantage of his A+ scholarship at Longview for two years and then transferring to Linn State Technical College for their automotive program.

“The training I’ve received through the CCC has provided me with hands-on experience that I can use at home and it’s made me less reliant on others and more independent,” he added.

Harrisonville High School senior McKinlee Merit is a second-year student in the Cass Career Center’s Health Science program.

“I chose this program because I have a calling to help others in need. Health Sciences has opened up a wide range of career options for me,” she said.

Students in the program learn basic health assistant skills, medical terminology, and anatomy and physiology. They also work hands-on in a long term health care facility and have the opportunity to do job shadowing in various departments in the hospital setting such as emergency room, ICU, laboratory, radiology, dietary, medical/surgical, and medication order entry. In addition, students have shadowing opportunities in fields such as veterinary, daycare, dialysis, and dental.

During her first year, Merit completed the requirements to obtain her Certified Nursing Assistant certification. Her future plans include pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science and then going on to earn her degree in nursing.

In addition to coursework, students at CCC have the opportunity to be involved in several extra-curricular organizations such as SkillsUSA, FFA, DECA, and FBLA.

Merit has been active in SkillsUSA and her experiences through this organization have also provided her with leadership skills and the opportunity to compete with others in her skills area. She has held officer positions for the past two years and this year is the West Central District secretary.

“As secretary, I have to attend many practices, meetings, and conferences,” Merit said. “Being an officer has taught me confidence, and given me opportunities to practice my leadership skills. “

She feels that her time in the CCC Health Sciences program has been invaluable.

“I couldn’t be happier with my choice to come to CCC,” she said. “I learn so much here every day.”

For more information on Cass Career Center and its offerings for both high school and post-secondary students, visit the website at or call 816-380-3253.

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