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Bath, ME (November 1, 2021) - For students interested in learning about Bath Tech, the facilities speak for themselves: brand new classrooms offer all the amenities needed for the school’s eleven trade programs, which range from graphic design to carpentry to culinary arts. But Bath Tech doesn’t just pride itself in its facilities; its students leave high school prepared for the job market, and Maine businesses are taking notice.
Nathaniel Hodgdon, Production Manager at Cunningham Security in Yarmouth, reached out to Electrical Program instructor Landon Hixon in 2020 to set up an introduction with his students. Hodgdon spoke with the class via Zoom and shared that he was looking for summer help. A student took him up on his offer and spent the summer assisting one of Hodgdon’s senior technicians, and, at the end of the season, Hodgdon offered him a full-time technician spot.
“When I graduated way back in 2000, vocational schools had a stigma about them of being a school that only failures and dropouts would attend,” Hodgdon said. “The perceived notion of proper schooling was that you go to college after high school, perform your four years of college, and get a good paying job. That just doesn’t stand up to the current job climate and I feel that having a trade under your belt is absolutely acceptable.
“This young man came out of Bath Tech with half the hours and credentials needed for his low voltage license, without spending a dime on schooling. I think that high schools offering courses like this are fantastic,” he said.
Bodwell Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram in Brunswick currently employs two Bath tech grads.
“They’ve been well-trained,” said Mike Jamison, Service and Parts Director. “I’m getting more affiliated with the automotive instructor at the new facility and it’s a great program they have.”
Jamison said Bodwell has employed Bath Tech grads in the past and noted their long careers with the company. “I think offering technical education programming is high school huge,” he said. “You’ve really got to have it. Not just automotive, but a variety of disciplines. We would absolutely love to add more Bath Tech grads to our team.”
Bath Tech is also considered an “important talent pipeline” for Bath Iron Works, one of the largest employers in the state.
“Career and technical education programs are critical to Bath Iron Works’ ability to cultivate the next generation of shipbuilders, the people we will depend on to build the ships that the U.S. Navy needs,” said Allyson Coombs, Director of Human Resources Services. “While BIW offers specialized training in shipbuilding-specific trades, having a strong foundation in technical education can be an important contributor to an employee’s success.”
Bath Tech Director Julie Kenny noted that, for the last three years, the school has benefitted from a Career and College Readiness grant from the MELMAC Education Foundation, which has allowed staff to increase their efforts to provide both career and college exposure and preparation to their students.
“One huge component of this grant is exposing students to careers and industries and helping them to make connections early on. We bring in industry representatives to present to students and get students off campus to see the businesses first-hand,” she said.
Kenny said she is proud to watch her grads take root in Maine communities. With booming enrollment numbers and new programs like cosmetology and criminal justice broadening the school’s offerings, Kenny said the future is bright for Bath Tech.
“Bath Tech opens career possibilities that students might not have even considered. I encourage all students to explore our program offerings as they prepare for high school. Whether they stay local or travel across the world, the skills they learn here will always serve them well, and may open a future that’s closer to home than they think.”