Students Reap the Benefits of a Career in Agriculture at TCHS Pennock’s Bridge’s First CAP Event
West Grove, PA – Representatives from different parts of the agriculture industry in Southern Chester County recently got to plant the seeds of future career pathways for students in the region. The event, which was titled Careers in Agricultural Production (CAP) 2019, was held at the Technical College High School (TCHS) Pennock’s Bridge Campus on September 20, 2019. Over 800 TCHS students had the opportunity to learn about a wide variety of career opportunities within the agricultural industry.
According to Michael Katch, assistant director of Career, Technical and Customized Education at the Chester County Intermediate Unit, CAP 2019 was created as part of a larger initiative to help support business and industry opportunities in Chester County.
“CAP 2019 was developed in order to help support the agriculture industry, which is one of the largest industries in the southern part of the county. We believe it is essential for career and technical education to work together with local industry in order to make sure our students are prepared to be valuable members of the 21st century workforce. We are continuously looking for opportunities to help support industries all across the county,” said Katch.
One activity that helped students connect what they are learning to career opportunities in the agricultural sector was a panel discussion. Hillary Krummrich, Director of the Chester County Agricultural Development Council, was one of the panelists who highlighted the potential opportunities for students in this industry.
“We also wanted them [students] to know that there are many ways that they can parlay their current areas of study, such as carpentry, to working specifically within the agricultural industry. There are companies here in the county that specializes in building barns and other agricultural buildings who are always in need of a good, skilled workforce,” said Krummrich.
CAP 2019 was designed to help students explore career opportunities while also supporting the overall economic development and prosperity of Chester County.
“We strongly believe that as providers of career and technical education we must help connect students and industry partners. For students, this event helps them realize that the skills they are acquiring here can be transferable across a wide variety of industries and careers. For employers, this event provides an opportunity to help fill areas of need and forge a closer relationship with the Technical College High School to make sure our students are ready for industry and or post-secondary opportunities,” said Katch.
In addition to attending a panel discussion about careers in the agriculture industry, students at CAP 2019 had the opportunity to explore post-secondary opportunities in this field, meet with industry partners, attend a presentation by the PA Game Commission, purchase items from a farmer’s market, learn more about the Chester County Intermediate Unit’s partnership with the Chester County Food Bank and compete in a corn shucking competition.
Ron Wilson, principal of TCHS Pennock’s Bridge, felt that it was important for students to learn more about these opportunities in a low-stress, fun environment. “We wanted to provide students the opportunity to explore how what they are doing at TCHS might help fill a need within the largest employment sector in Southern Chester County. We created an event that was fun and allowed students to have quality interactions with educational institutions, industry partners, local farmers and others within this local sector,” said Wilson.
Both students and industry partners were able to enjoy themselves at CAP 2019.
“The event was a lot of fun. The students were great and I think we were able to help them understand that because they eat, they are already involved with agriculture, whether they have ever thought about it that way or not,” said Krummrich.
Partners of CAP 2019 include: Chester County Technical College High School; Chester County Intermediate Unit; the Chester County Agricultural Development Council; the Pennsylvania Game Commission; the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; Katt & Mathy Farms - Black Angus Beef; American Mushroom Institute; Country Fresh Mushrooms; Mother Earth Organic Mushrooms; the Chester County Food Bank; Atlantic Tractor; Country Butcher; the University of Delaware; Penn State Cooperative Extension; Equine Management Training; Delaware County Community College and CCRES.