The Herald spoke exclusively with Middle Bucks Institute of Technology Community Engagement & Public Relations Coordinator Jeanise Dimitri as well as current students Evgeny Ukraintsev and Ariana Ayala about what MBIT and career and technical education (CTE) means to them.
To start off, MBIT is a career and technical school located in Warwick Township that serves the Centennial, Central Bucks, New Hope-Solebury, and Council Rock school districts. Each allows students to attend MBIT as an elective instead of traditional electives such as art or gym.
Ukraintsev is a junior at Central Bucks South High School and a level 300 student in the dental occupations program at MBIT.
Ayala is a freshman at Central Bucks East High School and a level 100 student in the early childhood education program at MBIT.
“Personally, I never thought I’d be going to a tech school, but when I was offered the opportunity in 9th grade to take either some electives in school like gym and art or go to a tech school and get started on my early education in the dental field, I chose to go the latter route,” said Ukraintsev.
“I am in the dental occupations program here at MBIT, I never really knew what we would do here, but once I got into this school, it was just perfect from the day that I started. Classes here go by so quick and teachers and faculty are always nice and here to help you.”
Ayala had a similar introduction to MBIT, albeit in a different program.
“I was intrigued by the idea of MBIT because I was like, ‘Why not? I don’t want to stay at my home school all day’ and once I started doing more research into it, I realized I get to focus more on my aspirations instead of say gym or art class,” she said. “I weighed the pros and cons and I realized that there are not many cons in a tech school program. Yes, there might be more work, but it’s really worth it when I can look back and say not only do I know what I want to do, but I have certifications and an idea of what area of a career field I want to go into.”
“I also considered what it would be like at the end when I complete the program and my time here is done, and I think it would be really great to get myself involved with people who share the same idea of what they want to do in life as I do. So I thought I’d give MBIT a try and it’s the best decision I ever made.”
Ukraintsev said field experience is so important and he gets it at MBIT.
“I’ve been at MBIT for three years and I don’t regret a single moment of it,” he said. “Tech schools are truly amazing, just being able to do something hands on is much more engaging than just sitting in a classroom jotting down notes all day.”
“For me doing the dental occupations program here, it involves working in the field, and as someone who wants to go to college after this and become a dentist, having this experience by being able to be in the lab, work in an office, I can decide whether I want to do this for the rest of my life.”
Ayala shared similar thoughts and highlighted the importance of the career skills she is learning.
“A lot of students freshman year were looking into MBIT but didn’t want to pick their occupation already,” she said. “Well good news, you don’t have to. Not only does MBIT teach specific skills, it also highlights valuable life skills.”
She added, “You get to learn, ‘Do I really enjoy this field? Is this something I want to do full-time when I get older? Is this going to be my career?’. I do believe skills that pertain to somebody’s trade or just life skills should be included in high school courses and I think tech schools should be a lot more available.”
Dimitri added the skills learned at institutions like MBIT are useful later in life no matter what.
“As far as students who learn these skills, they’re always going to have them, even if they decide to pursue another field,” she said. “They’re never going to lose these skills.”
“We’re actually over-enrolled right now because there’s so much interest from students. They can earn certifications by participating in the programs and in the time they are here, they can also earn college credits. So when you pursue post-secondary education, you’ll have those credits and be able to save money too.”
“Trading Up,” the Herald’s three-week series on the popularity of vocational and technical training in Bucks County, was funded by a Foundation Fellows Grant from the PA NewsMedia Association.