Wednesday April 25, 2012

An educational consultant’s recommendation that the Pittsfield Pub lic Schools revamp its vocational educational program to meet the future needs of the work force isn’t groundbreaking and indications are this adjustment is already under way. The review, however, is another step in the process of determining the focus of a new or renovated Taconic High School.

Frank Llamas of the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) reviewed the state-recognized vocational career programs in place at Taconic and Pittsfield High for three months and also met with city and school officials, business leaders and labor groups. New programs in early childhood education, office technology, electrical work and information services were recommended, which demonstrates how dramatically the field has changed since the days when vocational education constituted wood shop and metal shop. It now includes growth fields that require specialized training.

Although doing nothing with Taconic, a mediocre facility when it was built, is theoretically an option, it really isn’t. With state money likely available to reimburse the city for 78 percent of construction costs, the choice for the future is between a new Taconic or a rebuilt Taconic with a strong focus on vocational education.