Member Spotlight – Upper Bucks County Technical School

Strong alliances with business and industry to benefit employers and a skilled talent pool to join the workforce are the main objectives of the Upper Bucks County Technical School.

From animal to automotive technologies, baking and pastry arts, cabinet making, carpentry and cosmetology, the Upper Bucks County Technical School trains high school students to succeed after graduation in skilled trades and industry at the Bedminster Township facility.

More than 23 different industry trades are represented at the rural school, which is currently wrapping up a two year, roughly $23 million renovation project, according to Bern Wagenseller, Upper Bucks County Technical School executive director.

Among the campus upgrades is a covered connecting hallway so students may travel indoors to either of the site’s main education buildings.

Serving Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown high school students, Upper Bucks County Technical School taps local manufacturing industry and trades leaders to ensure best practices and cutting edge curriculum are in place at the school.

“Our business partners meet twice a year to discuss equipment, curriculum safety and to cement our partnerships,” Wagenseller said.

A recent conference of industry leaders gathered about 165 participants at the site, Wagenseller said.

Throughout the year, 20 advisory committees meet to review and help guide curriculum and align equipment, safety and labs, to best industry practices, said Cathleen Plesnarski, Upper Bucks County Technical School assistant director.

Plesnarski said the school makes a point of keeping pace with technology keeps a close watch on industry and trade trends. “A couple of years ago home health aides became a bigger program as the industry need in Upper Bucks also grew,” Plesnarski said.

The school is a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation emission certification site, according to Wagenseller. “We’ve re-certified about 90 technicians to conduct state inspection emissions testing,” Wagenseller said.

After a two year hiatus, a trades based adult night school program is slated to launch after construction is completed, sometime in 2016. “We are looking at workforce development, and offering classes in machining, welding, and HVAC,” Wagenseller said.

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