Emmanuel Cruz, a Lynn English High School student, works on an engine during a past T.A.P. course (Courtesy Photo )

Lynn Tech after-school program seeks to fill need for vocational career training

LYNN — Lynn Vocational Technical Institute's successful after-school program that offers high school students career-ready trade skills is kicking off its third year next month. 

The Lynn Vocational Technical Afterschool Program (T.A.P.) was created to expand the school's vocational opportunities to Lynn high school students who don't attend attend Lynn Tech. 

Although Tech students are accepted, preference is given to those who attend Lynn English, Lynn Classical and Fecteau-Leary High School, according to Brian O'Connell, a guidance counselor at Lynn Tech who started the program.

"The whole point is to give the students who come to the program employable skills they can use out in the workforce right away," O'Connell said. "It initially started because there is an overage of students not getting into vocational programs around the state as a whole. We wanted to give the students who are going to traditional high schools vocational skills and doing it after school seemed like the best option."

O'Connell credited School Committee member Jared Nicholson for being one of the first school officials to ask for the program. 

"I think it's just an amazing opportunity to tap into the resources we have at Lynn Tech and open it up to students around the district," Nicholson said. 

Nicholson said his interest stemmed from reading a report on the statewide gap between the number of students interested in vocational education and the number of seats available at vocational schools. So, he asked Lynn Tech staff if a program could be created that could match students at the district's traditional high schools with its existing vocational resources. 

Later, O'Connell would design and launch T.A.P., which has been a hit with students. The program, which includes winter and spring sessions, was offered this past summer for the first time.  

Courses this session will be culinary arts and auto technology, the latter of which hasn't been offered for two years. O'Connell said both 60-hour courses are usually popular with students — there are 36 seats available for culinary arts and 18 for auto technology. 

Students taking the 10-week, free classes get hands-on experience, high school credit and in the case of culinary arts, become ServSafe Food Handler-certified, which is a state requirement to work as a restaurant manager. 

In auto technology, students will learn how to change engine oil, repair/replace tires, perform an engine tune-up, balance tires, change brakes/pads and wiper blades, and about shop safety. 

In culinary arts, along with learning basic cooking and knifing skills, students should expect to be taught basic food safety, personal hygiene, cross-contamination and allergens, time and temperature, and cleaning and sanitation. 

"It's been really successful — that's one of the main reasons we keep doing it," O'Connell said. "There is such a need in this area." 

Classes start on Nov. 13 and applications are due by Nov. 7. Students interested in applying should see their guidance counselor. 

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