FREDERICK, Md. (AP) | Adam Newhart, a Gaithersburg landscape specialist and city government project manager, has found a new career by finishing the landscaping program at Frederick County Career and Technology Center (CTC).
“With everything going green in society — cars, buildings, energy — the future is brighter than ever to be in some aspect of the green industry, and it makes landscaping and horticulture perfect career choices,” said Mr. Newhart, a 2000 CTC graduate.
He said education at a four-year-college or university isn’t always needed to start a new career.
“I would encourage students and people looking to change careers later in life to pursue some part of landscaping or horticulture,” Mr. Newhart said.
Principal Greg Solberg said CTC expands its programs when students are interested in new fields and there is space at the facility. Currently, 24 programs, including automotive technology, criminal justice, masonry, nursing, video production and Web design, are offered.
“The automotive technology, culinary arts and nursing programs have all expanded into two-teacher programs, which allows us to serve twice as many students. Our criminal justice program has three times the applicants than we can accept, but we have no room to expand the program at this point,” the principal said.
CTC has accepted about 650 students every year during the last four years, Mr. Solberg said.
The key, in Mr. Newhart’s mind, isn’t as much where one pursues education but how.
“If you see something you want in life, career or personal, do some research on how you can get there, set some goals for yourself and update them often as you make progress,” Mr. Newhart said. “If you shift what you want your final goal to be, find a mentor in the industry to help guide you and show you the ropes and then go make a name for yourself.”
He went on to say others’ mistakes can be a valuable teacher.
“It’s cheaper and does not waste your time and energy,” he said. “You get out of life what you want to put in, and there is no substitute for old-fashioned hard work and dedication. This is something you can apply to many facets of life, not just work. Don’t be afraid to be your own person.”
Another option for starting a new career without attending a four-year institution is becoming trained in biotechnology.
Frederick Community College partnered with many of Frederick’s 65 biotechnology businesses to develop a two-year program.
“There’s a serious demand for skilled workers, and the availability of these workers will greatly influence the ability of the industry to grow,” said Keri-Beth Nagel, an assistant professor and the bioprocessing technology program manager.
Local industry leaders support the college’s program, she said.
“We are going to be the innovators. We’re going to be the ones creating high-paying, high-wage jobs,” said Patrick Haley, the chief executive officer of Frederick’s APE-BridgePath Scientific.