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School to offer new technical programs

November 25, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Washington County Technical High School will offer two new career preparation programs starting in the next school year, school officials decided Tuesday night.

The Washington County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve offering a two-year printing program and a one-year fire and rescue program through the school.

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Washington County used to have a vocational printing program, but it was closed down because of many factors, including lack of student interest, said John Ingersoll, supervisor of career technology education for the school system.

Now interest is up and the employment need is there, said Arnold Hammann, principal of Washington County Technical High School, formerly the Career Studies Center.

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There are 89 printing companies in the Quad-State area, including large employers Phoenix Color Corp. and Quad Graphics, Hammann said.

If each technical school in the region graduated 25 students from a printing program every year, they still couldn't keep up with the demand, he said.

The demand is there now and will grow locally with the opening of more Phoenix Color Corp. plants in the planned Book Technology Park in Hagerstown, said Franklin A. Ervin, vice president of training and technology for the company.

The program will give students a step up to entry-level jobs in an honorable, personally satisfying and rewarding career with potential for increased responsibility, Ervin said.

He said his company and others in the region will support the program.

Phoenix Color will work closely with the school system to keep the program up to speed with the changing, high-tech industry, Ervin said.

The fire and rescue program, open to seniors only, will be taught at Hagerstown Community College, Ingersoll said.

The program is unique in several ways, Hammann said.

Students must be at least 16 at the beginning of the school year, provide their own transportation to afternoon classes at HCC and training sites, be able to complete all senior requirements and must be members in good standing of a fire or rescue company, he said.

"I think it's a great step in enhancing not only protection for citizens of Washington County by the capability of students to go further in their education," said Robert Cumberland, administrative planner for the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association.

Instruction will be provided by the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, part of the University of Maryland at College Park, Cumberland said.

The program probably will involve some field trips to places like the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, he said.

A partnership with the City of Hagerstown will allow students to use the city's facility for hands-on training, Cumberland said.

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