Enrollment Record Broken Again!


Massanutten Technical Center Breaks Record Again

Posted: September 11, 2014
Daily News Record


HARRISONBURG — Massanutten Technical Center has once again broken its record for
student enrollment. The tech school now has 900 students enrolled in its daytime courses, up from 845 last year, and it seems as though interest is only continuing to grow.

MTC is a joint operation of the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County school divisions offering career training to high school students and adults. Enrollment has steadily risen for at least the past five years as the demand for hands-on, job skills education increases. Students can pursue state certifications and licenses for a variety of industries, and many courses can be taken for college credit. “And they get a skill for life,” said Marshall Price,
director of the center. “We think that’s a great combination. And I really believe parents are
beginning to see the benefit of that. You can come here, but you still have the whole world of options. If you want to go to college, we’re getting you a head start. If you want to go out into the workforce, we’re giving you those skills.” High school students who take classes at MTC are getting a good deal, Price said.

There’s a $25 activity fee, and while certain programs may have additional materials costs, the price is low in comparison to the $1,500 to $3,000 adults must pay for many of the
continuing education courses. By splitting their time between regular high
school and MTC, students who complete programs will graduate not just with a high school
diploma, but also marketable skills that make them eligible for the workforce.
Several seniors from Broadway High School who were at MTC on Wednesday said they plan to pursue college degrees or other training programs. They said MTC is a big stepping stone in preparing for the careers they want.


Emily Conley, 17, is in her second year of MTC’s cosmetology program. She hopes to work at a beauty salon during college to help pay tuition for a degree in English or creative writing.
Libby Diaz, 17, also in her second year of cosmetology, said she hopes to go to college for business and management, with the goal of one day opening her own salon. Cosmetology teacher Ashely Armstrong said the program has 97 students this year, as opposed
to 85 last year. The number of students who returned for a second year of the program nearly doubled over the previous year.

“I really like how enthusiastic the students are with the program,” Diaz said. “They’re so driven to work on a career that they really love to do, that they enjoy doing.” The flexibility that career and technical schools offer is a large part of the reason programs like those at MTC are increasingly popular, said Kevin Hutton, assistant director of marketing and programs. Students now see skills education as an avenue and asset to college careers, rather
than an alternative. “When I was in high school, if you were college-bound, this is not what you did,” Hutton said. “But now, that attitude has totally changed, to where we have a lot of advanced diploma students here because [school divisions] have changed the schedules in order to allow those students to get their advanced diploma and at the same time, be able to pursue something here at MTC.”

Other programs are growing, too. Visual effects and 3-D animation is now a two-year program instead of one, and auto collision repair has filled both of its sections this year.
BHS senior Hayden Tice, 17, will be training with NASCAR after he graduates to learn how to repair race cars. He hopes to one day be a race car technician.


“Ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted to do collision repair,” Tice said. “I always thought it was cool how you could take a totaled car and make it look brand-new.”

Contact Kassondra Cloos at 574-6290 or kcloos@dnronline.com