Graduates make grade in a trade

Technology center graduates 27

Technology center graduates 27

August 16, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

In his first year of computer science classes at Shepherd College, Jason Broadwater quickly discovered he didn't want to spend the rest of his life staring at a screen.

That was in 1997 and Broadwater, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native, learned of a unique training center in Hagerstown called the Cumberland Valley Technology Center and began a four-year journey that culminated Thursday night when he graduated from the program - one of 27 graduates in carpentry, electrical, plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

"As a kid, I had always messed around with electrical things ... you know, taking them apart and putting them back together," Broadwater said.


Another arrow pointing Broadwater toward "learning the trade" came when he met his future wife, Melissa, whose father was an electrician.

"In 1998, I got a job at Ellsworth Electric in Hagerstown and the company directed me to the school," Broadwater said. Ellsworth Electric's president is John Barr, who also serves as chairman of the CVTC board of directors.

For the next four years, Broadwater worked for Ellsworth during the day and went to school at CVTC at 319 W. Howard St. at night.

The educational arm of Associated Builders and Contractors, the school began in 1997 and is helping eliminate the shortage of trained tradesmen in Washington County.

"This is training for jobs that have opportunities for advancement and good pay," said Joan Warner, ABC president.

Some companies pay for their employees to take the courses, Warner said. Scholarships are available.

In Broadwater's case, Ellsworth paid half of his tuition. If he earned A's in his classes, the company would return Broadwater's half of the money.

"I got a lot of A's," Broadwater said.

After Thursday night's dinner and graduation ceremony at Four Points Sheraton, Broadwater officially became a journeyman electrician.

"I can go out on jobs by myself now," he said. "After so many hours and so many years of work, I can become a master electrician."

Jason and Melissa Broadwater - married since 2000 - are pleased with his choices and how things have worked out for them.

"I learned a lot and I'm always learning more," Broadwater said. "It was a terrific program.

To enroll, applicants must be at least 16 years old, Warner said. There are day and night classes. The cost is $950 for ABC members and $1,130 for nonmembers.

Other graduates included:

Carpenter - Brett Brown, Steve Snider.

Electrical - Wesley Bennett, Joel Bowers, Scott Burke, Jeff Clever, Joe Downer, Steven Grove, Steve Hershberger, Robert Holbruner, Shannon Kirsch, Justin Mulligan, Merhl Murphy Jr., Michael Starliper, Dustin Thompson, Jason Wilson, James Wolfe.

HVAC - Ronald Keilholtz, Marvin Lescalleet, Clint Schiffhauer, Michael Watkins.

Plumbing - Joseph Guessford, Nathanael Jarboe, Robert Johnson, Duane Lehman, Troy Meyer.

For information on the Cumberland Valley Technology Center, call 301-739-1190.

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