Reading Area Community College Works with Berks Career and Technology Center to Create The Technical Academy

techReading - Reading Area Community College (RACC) and Berks Career and Technology Center (BCTC) signed an agreement on Monday, Nov. 2, creating a Technical Academy that provides a technical career pathway opportunity for students in a high demand occupation. Economic revitalization of Berks County depends on more young people acquiring the advanced technical training that good jobs require. The area's eight economic development agencies' position paper, Ride to Prosperity clearly identifies the need to increase educational attainment levels especially in those skills required for employment in high demand occupations as a local challenge.

The goal of this BCTC and RACC educational partnership, which has strong local industry support, is to increase the number of high school students preparing for the field of Engineering Technology in a way that allows for multiple exit points each with awarding students a specific employment credential and set of defined skills.

The program, the first in a new model entitled The Technical Academy, includes a sequence of courses leading to industry recognized certificates, an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from RACC, and /or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in the "high priority" field of Engineering Technology (ET).

This partnership targets college-bound students in 9th and 10th grade with participants actually beginning the program in 10th or 11th grade at the BCTC. It is intended to be highly selective and will require an overall 3.00 GPA, specific math and reading proficiency as measured on the PSSA tests, and successful completion of a structured and progressively advanced math and science sequence.

High school students successfully completing up to five (5) Technical Academy courses and passing a national industry competency examination at the BCTC will earn up to 15 transcripted credits toward a RACC Associate Degree. The model then allows these high school students to move to the RACC campus to complete the remaining 100 level technical courses that make up the AAS degree in MET by the end of their senior year in high school. This would include 3 courses which equates to an additional 12 RACC credits. Students at this point will also earn a certificate recognizing their technical competence and skills.

Students graduating from BCTC's Technical Academy will be encouraged to continue in the Mechatronics Engineering Technology (MET) degree program at RACC where they can also earn advanced certificates. Students completing the AAS degree at RACC will be encouraged to continue their education by transferring to a four year degree granting institution or to enter the workforce. Transfer options into a Bachelor's Degree program from RACC's AAS in MET include:

  • Penn State Berks - BS in Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology. Students will be awarded 56 credits toward this degree for completion of the AAS.
  • Purdue Calumet - BS in Mechatronics Engineering Technology. Students will be awarded 65 credits toward this degree for completion of the AAS.
  • California State University of PA - BS in Industrial Technology. Students will be awarded 75 credits toward this degree for completion of the AAS.

Cost Savings for Students and Their Families - The five (5) courses that students complete on the BCTC campus will be provided at no cost with credit issued by RACC through a formal articulation agreement. The three (3) courses that students complete at RACC's Schmidt Technology Center while still enrolled in high school will be offered without charge to the student and be underwritten with outside funding to be determined. Once participants graduate from high school the costs associated with the remaining RACC courses will be the responsibility of the student. Students may apply for financial aid in the same manner as any other student.