Career center teens thank their bosses

April 29, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Last night was the first chance many Carroll County teens had to invite the boss to dinner.

The annual Employer-Employee Dinner at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center allowed students who spent the semester in work programs to thank the employers who hired them.

After three semesters at the career center, students have the option of spending the fourth semester working in the community in the field they are studying.

"Most of them start out as part-time jobs during the school year," said Gene Dolly, work coordinator for the school. "Upon graduation, many of them turn into full-time [jobs]."

Since 1977, Mr. Dolly, a former masonry instructor, has been beating the bushes at Carroll businesses to place students in jobs.

"I'm out pretty much every day looking for jobs," he said.

In spite of a recession in which Maryland suffered the fifth-worst job loss in the nation last year, the career center maintained a good placement record, Mr. Dolly said.

"Naturally, it has affected us," he said. "Because when I look at the records for enrollment, the percentage of kids has dropped."

He said that some students might be reluctant to train for careers such as construction when they hear that construction jobs may not be waiting for them.

"Now that jobs and building construction are picking up, we should see some enrollment pickup," he said.

Of the 1992 graduating class, 84 percent went directly into jobs in their chosen trade or continuing education for that trade, Mr. Dolly said. Only 3 percent were unemployed, with the remainder in other jobs unrelated to their trade, or in the military.

Last night, the 34 local employers the school and students honored included longtime participants All-State Welding Products, Bare Truck Center, Carroll County General Hospital, Modern Comfort Systems and Sears Auto Center.

One employer, chef Don Reiger of Wakefield Valley Conference Center, helped plan the event with his wife, Joan Dishberger. Ms. Dishberger is the culinary arts instructor at the center.

Her students set up the dining room with fresh white linens and cooked and served a dinner of grilled boneless chicken breast with sherry mushroom sauce, tomatoes Provencal, broccoli, twice-baked potatoes and chocolate mousse in tuille cookie cups.

About 50 students, most of them seniors, attended the dinner with their employers. The students paid $3 a person to cover the cost of their employer's dinner, said Gene Dolly, work coordinator for the school. He has organized the annual dinner for 15 years.

Angie Robertson, a South Carroll High School senior, is in a work program at Wakefield Valley, under Mr. Reiger. She goes to school at South Carroll until 10:30 a.m., then drives to work by 11 a.m. every day.

"I love the work. It's a lot of fun," she said. "I'm going through an apprenticeship program through the chef."

Mr. Reiger has two other students in an apprenticeship program, which he said will be equivalent to more expensive training programs in schools.

He said his own education cost $27,000 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.

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