Program Spotlight - Welding



Welding has been a way of life for CPAVTS’ welding instructor, Mr. Keith Hammond. During his high school years, Mr. Hammond attended Franklin County Vocational Technical School. Under the tutelage and guidance of his instructor, Nelson Albright, Keith developed his love for the trade. Upon graduation, he entered the manufacturing work force for ten years as a welding technician for Hennessy Products, where he built enclosures for telecommunication companies. For the next ten years, Keith worked for various construction companies as a self-employed welding contractor. Five years ago, CPAVTS welcomed Mr. Hammond as our welding instructor. Keith says, “I love my job!” and we couldn’t be happier to have him with us! Here is a little of what he has to say about the program:


What is the most significant new or different aspect to your program this year?

            “We are very close to having our Plasma Cam (a computer-aided cutting machine) up and running. This machine is used for cutting shapes and designs out of aluminum, steel and stainless steel.”


What are some of the more common career pathways your students take when they leave CPAVTS?

            “Some go on to HACC or PennTech for post-secondary welding while others will enter the construction or manufacturing field.”


What particular training/unit do employers seek that helps students get their foot in the door?

            “They like to see an understanding of welding symbols, blue prints, and welders’ math. As far as the welding process goes, gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is in high demand.”


What unit/topic do students struggle with the most in your program? Why do you think that is?

            “Understanding welding symbols can be like learning another language.”


Explain a typical day in your program.

            “Each level of students will use a sketch or drawing to build a small product for grading each week. Each day is used to practice on a portion of the drawing. Proficient students usually are working on real products for the public or school itself.”


What advice would you give to students who have completed your program?

            “Take the experience and certifications and enter the welding work force or post-secondary school to continue building on the strong foundation of a rewarding career that is in high demand. I would also ask that graduating students be an advocate for vocational schools like ours because this is the starting point for replacing our nation’s workforce. This could be the best opportunity given to someone.”



This is what our students have to say about their program:



Summarize what you learn in your program.

             “We learn the basics of how to weld, torch, plasma cut, and grind metal.”

             “To be successful in learning about maintaining and running machinery involving steel and welding.”


What is the hardest part of your program?

             “Aluminum TIG welding.”

             “Fractions and measuring the correct lengths of metal to weld.”

             “Reading blue prints.”


What is the most fun part of your program?

             “Doing projects and welding in my booth.”

             “Using the plasma cutter.”

             “Making/building projects and being able to go on co-op.”

             “Working together with the guys in the shop.”

             “The people and the instructor.”


What is your plan for after high school?

             “To go to college and then go into the workforce as a pipeline welder.”

             “I have a job opportunity for underwater welding in the Bay in Baltimore.”

             “Be a mechanic in the Marines.”

             “Continue working at Heim full-time.”

             “Go to Penn College to enroll in the welding program there.”

             “I plan on being a fabricator.”


What is going to be the highlight of the year in your program?

             “Getting to go out on co-op.”

             “Learning to do aluminum TIG welding well.”

             “Earning my certifications.”                


What are you proud of learning how to do in your program?

             “Weld, fabricate, and build things from scratch.”

             “MIG welding overhead T-joint.”

             “I am proud of learning the different types of welding and cutting techniques.”

             “I am proud of learning to problem solve and figure out things on my own.”      


How is your program at CPAVTS different from other classes you have had in the past?

             “I am learning a trade that I got to choose.”

             “Way more hands-on and it’s amazing.”

             “You actually get to go out and do what you’re going to do in the future and not just sit at a desk.”


What advice would you give to a beginning Level 1 student who is just starting the program or to a student who is considering enrolling in the program?

             “Do your work with a positive mind set and dignity.”

             “Participate as much as possible and weld as much as possible. Practice makes you better.”







Catching Up With ... Israel Cortes Jr., 2000

Israel Cortes Jr., Class of 2000, Criminal Justice, East Pennsboro


Israel Cortes Jr. is a 2000 graduate of East Pennsboro High School and CPAVTS’ Criminal Justice program. After graduating from high school, Israel worked as a security guard while he attended Penn State University, where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. Israel currently works for Nationwide Insurance as a Property Claims Large Loss Specialist III. Mr. Cortes took some time to catch up with CPAVTS and give us some feedback on how his education with us helped him with his post-graduate work and with his career path.


What is your job title and what do you do?

Property Claims Large Loss Specialist III


                “I work for Nationwide Insurance, where I have been employed since graduating from Penn State University with a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. I investigate large loss property claims which entail working with law enforcement and fire origin experts to determine the cause and origin of the damages. I look for potential insurance fraud indicators, and if found, work with our fraud investigation team to investigate. I estimate the damages to the structure and contents and work with contractors and vendors to secure bids and final agreed amounts of the damages. In summary, we help people put their lives back together after they have a major loss to their property.

        In prior roles, I have investigated auto accidents and commercial claims in order to determine liability. These and my current role involve conducting interviews and recording statements with the parties involved in order to determine who is liable for the damages.

I serve as a mentor to less experienced claims associates and assist with training/presentations as assigned by management. I create and analyze severe incident reports, reinsurance reports and other information to home office, claims management, and underwriting. I manage and prepare files for suit, trial or subrogation. I consult claims staff and defense counsel for discovery processes, suit file/trial strategy as related to case-specific issues.”


How was Cumberland Perry different than your regular high school?

“CPAVTS was different from my regular high school because it gave me a chance to begin studying what interested me the most, early on. I went on to college, where I majored in Criminal Justice. I felt that I was better prepared than others in my major because I already had two years of education studying Criminal Justice. Much of what I learned through my time at CPAVTS with Mr. Page applied directly to and was part of my criminal justice courses in college. Likewise, these lessons apply in my career.”


How did Cumberland Perry help you?

“One may not think of being an insurance adjuster when they begin studying Criminal Justice, but a majority of my colleagues have Criminal Justice degrees. Criminal Justice is a vast field, not just limited to Law Enforcement. I believe that the major aspects of Criminal Justice are the investigation, interpreting policy and laws and applying all of that to solve an issue, whether it is a crime or an insurance claim. Through its comprehensive curriculum and hands on training, the CPAVTS Criminal Justice program prepares you and puts you ahead of others, to enter this career field or to go on to further your education.”


What is your favorite Cumberland Perry memory?

“My favorite memory would have to be when an interactive simulator was brought into our shop on which a scenario was played out and we had to react to the crime enacted in front of us. This was utilized as a law enforcement training device. My exercise was a felony stop in which I had to detain an armed suspect. It was a great experience!”

Rotary Students of the Month - March 2015



Brooklyn Detter is a West Shore student enrolled in the Cosmetology program at Cumberland Perry. Brooklyn is involved in her church youth group, Kids for Jesus and is a member of the National Honor Society. Brooklyn plans to attend Shippensburg to study Environmental Biology.

Maverick Robinson is a Newport student enrolled in the Culinary Arts program. He is a member of the FFA, National Honor Society, FBLA, Varsity Club, SADD, and SkillsUSA. Maverick was a Tri-Valley Scholastic Athlete recipient as a member of the football team and earned the Presidential Academic Excellence Award. Maverick plans to attend the Culinary Institute of America to study Culinary Arts, Food Management, and Nutrition.


CIS Students Are "S'more" Than Thrilled With Recent Victory

02-26-15 Nanoline Award Team PhotoStudents from the Computer Information Systems program took 3rd Place and $200 in the national Nanoline Contest at Phoenix Contact on Saturday. They also won the "Excellence in Engineering" award for their design and prototyping of the SmoreChat— an Internet-enabled s’more making machine. Their advisor, Chris Champion, expressed his pride at the student’s success, especially for the excellence award.

From Phoenix Contact’s website: “Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline Contest challenges students to design and build a working automation system. Participants use the Nanoline controller and nanoNavigator software.”

Phoenix Contact provided the students with several automation computer parts, as well as a $200 gift card to purchase additional parts. The students raised an additional $150 to build the s’more maker—and received two local sponsors in Cumberland Consumer Electronics and Quantum Communications.

Last week, students were visited by Sara Abernethy from Hershey Foods. Hershey is interested in designing a s’more making machine and wanted to see how our students approached the problem—Hershey even donated chocolate for use in the machine.

The students also received design suggestions and mentorship from David Lebow, an animatronics specialist with Universal Studios in California. Mr. Lebow corresponded via email and commented on students’ prototype photos as they solved the problem of separating and feeding marshmallows into the machine. In November, students visited HACC’s Mechatronics program instructor Thomas Lepp to get ideas as to how to build their machine.

The S’moreChat machine is on display this week in the lobby at Phoenix Contact as part of their National Engineers Week recognition.

“It was a bit frustrating at times” said Aaron Seidel of West Perry. “But it was a lot of fun!”

Classroom Skills Lend a Helping Hand in the Community

2015-02-19 ECM-Project SHARE 4Project SHARE is a community aid organization based in Carlisle, PA that has been providing basic necessities to families since 1985. In addition to contributing food, the organization donates money and volunteers their time to over 1,000 families per month in several communities, including Carlisle, Mt. Holly Springs, Boiling Springs, and Middlesex.

On Wednesday, February 18, students in Jay Brubaker’s Electrical Construction and Maintenance program made the trip to Carlisle to help Project SHARE construct its new building, and they have returned today, February 20, to finish their wiring work.

“I think [the students] learn more in one day then they do in two weeks working in the shop,” said Mr. Brubaker.

A group of 7 students, along with Mr. Brubaker and the project lead Terry Zook (a retired electrician), completed wiring on electric signs and receptacles, and installed insulation around light switches and electric outlets.

Today, the team wis completing their electrical work, which includes installing the wiring for the structure’s overhead lights. But the work isn’t just practical learning. The students have a blast on the job as well:

“I really liked it!” Justin Weibley, a senior from Boiling Springs, said. “I learned so much during the project—if we could do this again, that would be great!”