On the day Drew Young, 21, was born, his parents, Laurel and Dave started their only child’s college fund. Both had attended college after high school and they assumed that their son would follow in their footsteps. Drew had other plans.
“After working for the City of Akron one summer, I realized that I like hands-on work,” Drew said. His friends were taking college prep courses but he knew that it wasn’t the right fit for him.
“When he told us that he wanted to go to Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC), we initially had that ‘What?’ moment, “Laurel confessed. “But it made sense. Academics were never his thing.
Because she’d served as PLCC’s assistant treasurer for six years, Laurel felt at ease with her son’s decision. “I had witnessed the amazing outcomes for career tech students. We could not be more proud that Drew is another one of those PLCC success stories.”
While a sophomore at Green High School, Drew applied and was accepted into PLCC’s welding program. During his senior year, he participated in the School-to-Work Placement Program where he attended his regular high school classes in the mornings then worked at HP Products in Louisville, 6-8 hours a day, four days a week. “I was basically getting paid for going to school.”
When he graduated in 2020, his welding program instructor, Mike Kapas, encouraged him to apply at BWXT in Barberton. Because the company specializes in the design and manufacture of large, heavy components for the U.S. Navy, Drew had to pass rigorous certification tests to earn a specific welder classification. “I started as a fitter and recently became a welder.”
His salary, plus overtime, has enabled him to pay off his car and purchase his dream truck, and he’s looking into buying his first house. “I did miss out on the college experience but I focused on putting myself ahead.”
In the future, he might move to another part of the country with friends. “I know that as a welder, I can get a good-paying job with benefits anywhere and that gives me a lot of flexibility.”
His advice to high school students who feel like they don’t fit into the traditional college mold: “Give PLCC a try. The worst that can happen is that you leave with a skill. It’s a great stepping stone because even if you do something else, your skills and experiences will look good on a resume.”
We take pride in our facility and welcome the opportunity to show it off! You would never buy a car without looking at it first. Choosing the place to give you a head start on a successful path in life should be no different. We invite you to schedule a tour of our beautiful campus. We’re pretty sure you’ll be impressed!
If you are a high school student, please note that you will have several opportunities to visit PLCC during your sophomore year.
Once we receive your request, a PLCC staff member will follow up directly. Thank you for your interest, we look forward to seeing you soon.
Portage Lakes Career Center is accessible to visitors with physical disabilities. Visitors should contact the Main Office at 330-896-8200 prior to arrival for parking instructions and other information.