LACONIA — Students in the Lakes Region will have more choices in their education next fall.
The J. Oliva Huot Center is preparing to expand two existing programs and launch a new Resort and Recreation Management program for fall of 2014. The Huot Center, located in Laconia, currently provides career and technical education courses to over 500 students from six different high-schools making it one of the largest centers in the state.
The newly renovated center has seen a surge in enrollment and is adding more sections and programs in response. The two current programs slated for expansion are Law Enforcement and Biotechnology. Law Enforcement will expand from a one-semester exploratory course to a full two-year program preparing students for a variety of protective service careers.
The exploratory course, taught by former Laconia Police Chief Mike Moyer, has been proven very popular. The hope is to grow the law program into a full protective-services academy featuring elements of law enforcement, fire fighting and EMT training. Also on the agenda for expansion is Biotechnology which will be adding a second year option. The upper level course will provide students increased skills an improved college readiness for the expanding career sector.
Biotechnology, like many health-related fields, has seen steady job growth and provides salaries starting in the upper $40,000 range immediately out of college, with significant potential for advancement. Biotechnology careers include work with gene-therapy, development of vaccines and medicine and variety of other laboratory based medical careers.
Laconia High School students currently have the option to take Biotechnology for Honors credit and the Huot Administration is hopeful that other sending high schools will follow suit. Students in Biotechnology can earn college-credit through Southern Maine Community College and students in Law Enforcement can pursue dual-enrollment with Central Maine Community College.
The newest program, Resort and Recreation Management, will prepare students for a variety of careers in the hospitality industry.
"Travel and tourism is a defining part of what makes this region unique" says Huot Director David Warrender. "Students in the Resort and Recreation Management program will literally have the entire Lakes Region as their classroom."
Students will have the opportunity to earn a series of nationally-recognized credentials from the American Hotel and Lodging Association. The goal, explains Warrender, is not to simply get students their first-job, but to show them the career-ladder for a variety of management level occupations within the hospitality industry.
Area groups and businesses such as Gunstock Mountain, The Lake Opechee Inn and the Lakes Region Association have already stepped up to show their support. The Huot Center is also in the final stages of creating an agreement with the Margate Resort through which students would spend their entire second year on-site learning all aspects of resort operations. This model has been successfully used at several other career centers in New Hampshire with many students walking directly into jobs upon graduation.
An open-house, tentatively planned for mid-March, will provide students and parents and opportunity to learn more about these and other educational opportunities at the Huot Center. Students normally spend two years in a technical center program beginning in their Junior year. Any current sophomore who is interested in learning more about Hout Technical Center should contact their high school guidance counselor or call the center at (603) 528-8693.