Upper Cape Tech Starts School Year with New HVAC Program, Demonstration Kitchen


BOURNE – The new school year at Upper Cape Regional Technical School in Bourne got underway Wednesday and students were welcomed back with a new program and culinary instructional space.

The school is beginning a heating, ventilation and air conditioning program as the industry seeks needed workforce.

“We have built a new building that houses our HVAC program and our first group of freshmen will go through their exploratory and eventually 14 students will enroll in that program this winter,” said Robert Dutch, the Upper Cape Tech superintendent.

The HVAC industry has a lot of well-paying jobs available and Upper Cape Tech is still four years away from providing any relief from high school students.

“What we are doing also is offering some evening school programs to provide training for adults either who are already in the industry and are apprentices or folks who are looking for a job change and would like some training because there are folks ready to hire them,” Dutch said.

Adult evening classes begin this fall.

The school also added a demonstration kitchen to the culinary program which will be an instructional space to show students how to handle and prepare food and use knives and other utensils.

“It’s also going to be used to record some television programming that could then go on local cable TV kind of like a food show would,” Dutch said.

The school’s horticulture program has also partnered with UMass Stockbridge which would allow students to receive 10 college credits to students beginning in their sophomore year.

“They’ll be taking a course here at Upper Cape with an Upper Cape horticulture teacher and if they pass that course then they would get credits from UMass Stockbridge,” Dutch said. “They have a UMass Stockbridge ID. They are effectively enrolled at the same time at UMass.”

When students graduate from Upper Cape Tech they would have 10 credits and a transcript from UMass Stockbridge which would transfer to any four-year college.

Interest in vocational education in the region continues to grow and Dutch believes it is being driven by a few factors, including the economy.

“The cost of education and the return on that investment seems to be playing a role,” Dutch said. “There are lots of good-paying jobs for students that they can go into, either right after graduation but often with a two-year degree or some further technical education.”

Vocational students have significantly less debt incurred compared to students who receive a four-year college degree.

Dutch also believes technology is also playing a role in increased vocational interest.

“Because of technology, our students have become very contextual learners,” Dutch said. “They want to learn things not in the abstract manner of just the content but they want to attach the content to a skill, and vocational education does that very well for students.”

Dutch said there is a benefit for students to go through the school’s technical programs and have hands on experiences that take the science they learn and apply it in some particular way.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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