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GRTS Advisory Committees Gather for Annual Meeting, Dinner
By CATHERINE STORTZ RIPLEY
November 18, 2015

CAPTION: Grand River Technical School's institutional advisory committee oversees and provides guidance for the school and is comprised of faculty members and community leaders.


C-T Photo / Catherine Stortz Ripley

Grand River Technical School hosted its annual advisory committee meeting and dinner last week at the school. The evening began with individual committee meetings for each program offered at the school, followed by a catered dinner with welding instructor Lee Caughron as the guest speaker. An estimated 140 committee members attended. The committees are comprised of school staff, past and present students, parents, and industry professionals to help guide the 13 programs offered at GRTS. The committees are vital to the success of the school's programs, Jayme Caughron, GRTS director, said. "We couldn't do what we do if it weren't for them," she said. "Every decision we make is based on the advice that they give us."

Committee members come together and give advice regarding the school's curriculum, equipment the school should be purchasing, and what is needed to prepare students to become entry level workers in today's workforce. Caughron told those in attendance that the faculty and administration take the committees' input seriously. "Whether it's implementing a curriculum or purchasing new equipment, it makes a difference," she said. "We depend greatly on you, and we appreciate you for your time."

Lee Caughron has been a welding instructor at GRTS since 2001 and teaches two levels of high school students and also adults. He has taught GRTS night classes, provided industry training and testing as well as provided a welding program at North Central Missouri College. He discussed the areas of welding he teaches and mentioned some of the highlights from his committee's meeting held just prior to the dinner. He noted that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education last year cut enhancement grant funding for welding saying that welders are not in high demand. "I have people from the industry (boiler makers, manufacturing and sales area) telling me that companies cannot find enough welders and that there is an abundance of older welders in the unions that are going to be leaving and that there is going to be a massive shortage of replacements," he said. During his committee's meeting he provided members with information for state legislators and asked those in attendance for them to send letter and have companies send legislators telling them that welders are in high demand. "We do need that funding to keep our equipment updated," he said.

Roger Barnes, superintendent of schools, thanked those in attendance for their continued support in helping make the school's programs successful. "It is very important that we rely on our business and industry to keep our students current with what is needed and have the right employable skills so that when they leave our institution, they are ready for today's workforce and also for the future," Barnes said. He noted that the students who graduate have a high rate of placement in the workforce, which is a reflection of the school’s successful instruction. "The quality educational program that our students receive here from the staff is second to none," said Barnes, who is a former vocational teacher and vo-tech director. "I can clearly say to you with all honesty we have the best educational staff in the state of Missouri here in our vocational technical school."

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