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From graduation to the workforce, PATHS students are ready to work

Career and Technical Education month is an opportunity for Portland Arts and Technology High School to show off its students and its mission.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- For schools, teachers and students dedicated to the trades, February is a big advertising opportunity. It's Career and Technical Education (CTE) month.

The garage beds at Portland Arts and Technology High School (PATHS) are run like a construction business, but the only form of payment at PATHS is knowledge. Taking an interest that students like Dylan Petropoulos already have, and adding to it. The senior helped work on an entire house in his carpentry class.

"Seeing it all come together is great, " said Petropoulos. "I love putting things together and love seeing things how they turn out. If I ever see this house, if I ever drove by it I'd say man I can't believe I built that."

PATHS is celebrating CTE month by promoting its programs such as carpentry, masonry, culinary and more. Each program has an advisory board to oversee the curriculum and make sure students are prepared for the work force. Dan Kolbert sits on the carpentry program board. His biggest frustration has been school's requiring students to apply for college, even if they want to go into a trade job after high school.

"These are jobs that need to be filled," said Kolbert. "It's part of a strong community, having people in the building trades."

It's the learning that's happening at PATHS that gives him hope for carpentry jobs like his being filled. Many of the students enrolled have already decided what career they want to go into. Cooking our meals during a night out, laying the bricks of our chimneys and building the houses we'll call home.

"Carpentry is a pretty good skill to have," said Petropoulos. "I'd say any trade is good, whether you're a mechanic, or a plumber it's all great."

PATHS is part of the Maine Career and Technical Education network along with 27 other schools.