Moving Target

David, Kayla, and Susan rethink their choice of career or technical school and college.

Now that he has a girlfriend, David doesn’t want to leave town to attend automotive school.

David might not go away to automotive technician school
after all.

I’m doing an oil change. A real easy job, something my dad doesn’t usually do, but gives to me or the other tech. He likes to do the more interesting work, things that are hard to figure out. Me, I don’t mind an oil change. It’s mindless. Leaves me free to think about other things.

Like Audrey.

She’s so cool. I’ve never known anyone like her. There’s just something about her. I’ve been with other girls – well, sort of – but this is different. I could hang with her forever.

The thing is, she’s staying in town, no matter what. She’s set on going to community college, getting her nursing degree, and she’s real serious about that. It’s what she wants to do. And that’s cool.

But the school I want to go to is five hours away from here, and things with Audrey could just end if I’m gone. I don’t want that to happen.

So after that big fight with my dad and then finally getting him to go along with me leaving town and getting an associates degree in automotive technology, it’s me that doesn’t wanna go. It doesn’t feel so bad to stay on at my dad’s shop, maybe take some classes at the Vo-Tech Center. I’m just shifting gears.

I haven’t told anyone this yet. Not Dad. Not Audrey. And definitely not my friends. I don’t think they’d get it. Well, maybe Carlos would. He’s had a thing for Alicia as long as I can remember. But he thinks it’s a big secret, never talks about it. And he’s sure never gone out with her. So I don’t know what he’d say.

But I keep thinking, would it really be so bad to stay in town?

Kayla wonders if going away to cooking school is worth the money.

Can Kayla afford to go away to
culinary arts school?

Ever since I started working with Becky at La Reine Astrid, I’ve been pretty sure cooking is what I want to do with my life. I mean, it’s fun, and I think I’m good at it. My parents probably don’t agree. They like Ragu way better than the marinara sauce I make from scratch.

But I like to cook – and I like what I cook! And I know I can get a job cooking. I mean, I’ve got one already! But I need to make more money. I sure don’t want to end up like my mom. She never pays the bills on time and our cable is always getting cut.

So I know I need to go to school and get that piece of paper that means I can earn more money. And after I’m trained, I want to move to a big city and cook for a real fancy place, you know, the kind that pays really well and has ten thousand words to describe the entrée. Like “roast free-range, grain-fed chicken with organic heirloom tomato-cilantro salsa over Southern-style pepper-parmesan polenta.” All that for chicken and grits!

But culinary arts school is just so expensive! I don’t even know if I’ll make that much when I get out; it looks to me like Becky has to work a lot of hours just to break even. That’s a lot of money to spend to come out and struggle still to pay your bills. And the program I looked at made it sound like it would be just like going to regular college; there was info about dorms and sports and cultural activities, whatever those are. I don’t need all that. I just need to learn to be chef.

So now I’m checking out local programs. These are way cheaper, sure, but I don’t know if they’ll get me where I want to go.

Susan toys with the idea of going to beauty school.

Have you ever seen that old movie, Grease? Heard the song, Beauty School Drop-Out? Well, I think that’s me.

Susan’s internship at a beauty salon helps her focus her plans.

I guess my original plan was going to college. And I guess that’s still the plan. It’s just, I’m not sure I’ll get in anywhere, especially after all that trouble over getting recommendations. So I decided to branch out.

I went to see Ms. Lopez, my guidance counselor, and she arranged for me to do some sort of career internship thing. I got sent to Skin Deep, this salon in town, and was put to work. I always thought it would be kinda glamorous to go there. You know, it’s all fancy and very expensive and they do all kinds of weird things, like mud packs and hot oil treatments. Things I’ve only read about in magazines.

So I get there, and put on this stupid smock that all the non-licensed people wear, and I’m supposed to do shampoos and sweep hair. Well, have you ever shampooed anybody who hasn’t washed her hair in like a week? And has really bad dandruff? Who says, “Don’t be afraid to use your nails, dear?” It is soooooo disgusting. She gave me a five dollar tip, but it definitely wasn’t worth it.

And then the other cosmetologists started talking, and, yick, did they have some stories. It grossed me out. So after that, they let me sweep hair for the rest of the afternoon. Which is pretty disgusting, too, but at least I didn’t have to touch it!

I was supposed to go back the next day, but I didn’t. I mean, I knew after that first shampoo that there was no way I was gonna spend my life doing that.

So I’m back on the college track, which is where I belong, I guess.

Click here to watch David Jeck, Director, Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center (CATEC) discuss the advantages of enrolling in a career training program. (dialup  OR broadband)


Click here to watch Bruce Bosselman, Adult Programs Coordinator, Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center, discuss career education opportunities for high school graduates. (dialup  OR broadband)

Explore these sites for information about different types of careers that require training:

What’s Career and Technical Education?

Career Exploration (descriptions of a wide-range of careers)

Ability Videos (Take a look at your abilities and how they relate to career choices).

Work Option Videos (Explains various types of work available)

Check out these sites for information about high-growth careers:

Occupations with the largest job growth: 2004-2014

Tomorrow’s Jobs (Shows where the jobs will be in the future).

Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-2007 edition