The TECH plays key role in developing vocational career skills

Published 5:15 pm Thursday, October 20, 2022

Nicknamed “The TECH,” the Oxford-Lafayette School of Applied Technology is a vocational institution that welcomes students from both Lafayette High School and Oxford High School. Nestled in a grove of trees on Highway 7 South, the TECH first opened in the 1970s and has provided a large variety of technical programs for students ever since.

“The school’s purpose is to offer hands-on experience to create skills outside of the normal academic curriculum,” said Grant Crockett, director of The TECH. “We are the only school in the district that is able to do that.”

Programs that The TECH offers include Automotive Technology, Construction/Carpentry, Health Science, Metal Fabrications, Programming Fundamentals and Educator Prep (also known as Teacher Academy). In addition to taking regular classes at their high schools, students enrolled in The TECH’s courses will go to the school every weekday to learn both the fundamentals and the advanced concepts of their chosen course. Crockett says the goal of The TECH’s programs is to prepare students for joining the workforce right after high school.

“College is not for everyone. Some people like working with their hands and are good at it,” Crockett said. “Ninety-five percent of students love it here and find a career through the classes.”

Most of the programs take two years to complete, although a few programs can be finished in just one year. Upon completion, students in the Construction/Carpentry, Metal Fabrications and Automotive Technology programs will receive certification of trade skills. Students enrolled in the Programming Fundamentals course will receive college credit, specifically a credit for Python programming.

The TECH is more than a learning institution, though. According to Crockett, The TECH is also a pillar of the local workforce, with the majority of The TECH’s graduates staying in Lafayette County to work.

“This program helps students meet the goals and needs of their community,” said Crockett. “We want to see students go on to help the community with their skills and experiences.”