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Inside the Commonwealth Technical Institute

Westmont, Cambria County, Pa - A vocational school in Cambria County is giving students with disabilities the right skills to get a job. 

The Commonwealth Technical Institute is located inside the Hiram G. Andrews Center.  Kimberly Fox, a culinary expert, came to the school as instructor about ten years ago.  She said is has been a rewarding experience.

"A lot of them (students) fall on the autistic spectrum," said Fox. "Our cognitive specialists always say there is no normal. So we all fall in somewhere along that line."

About forty students are enrolled in the culinary program. They work to earn a 16-month associate degree or the 8-month diploma program.

These students learn the various techniques for cooking and baking and they get to practice their people skills.

In June, they served people at the weekly farmer's market in Johnstown's Central Park.

"I believe there is a misconception that they can't hold down a job," said Fox. "These students have great potential."

David Miller and Matthew Beer are two of Fox's students.

"It's been great. I got a lot of friends and I learned a lot of things I thought I could not do," said Miller. "Plus making the bread is fun. It takes all your stress out because you have to punch it."

"Ms. Fox and Mr. Graham and Mr E, they've all been a great help for me to learn. I enjoyed it a lot and they made it fun in class," Beer said.

Fox said the best day of her life is graduation.

The Commonwealth Technical Institute has a high success rate of helping its students find jobs.  They also follow up with employers to make sure the hires are a good fit.


CLICK HERE to learn more about the Commonwealth Technical Institute.


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