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The College of Southern Maryland Center for Trades and Energy Training in Waldorf welcomed cadets from Freestate ChalleNGe Academy at Aberdeen Proving Grounds to tour the facility and learn about careers in construction and associate degree programs.

The academy is part of the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe program.

“This is our first visit to CSM, and we wanted to show these young men and women the opportunities available to them in the trades,” said Freestate Academy Placement Coordinator Keith Hammond.

CTET Director Ricky C. Godbolt had visited the academy for career day earlier in November, and when he invited the students to come for a visit, “We jumped on it,” Hammond said.

“The Freestate ChalleNGe Academy has been taking the steps to help students who have fallen through the cracks by providing discipline and opportunities to see themselves in successful careers. By visiting community colleges throughout the state, these students can see a pathway to a bright future,” Godbolt said.

The nine cadets who participated in the tour of welding, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and carpentry labs are all Charles County residents.

The cadets also watched a video on careers in construction where the narrator said that college isn’t for everyone.

“How many of you believe that college is not for everyone,” Godbolt asked. “When you hear people say that college isn’t for everyone, they are not talking about community colleges. This college, CSM, is for everyone for students that want a career in the skilled trades as well as students who want to transfer for a four-year degree.”

Godbolt added that for any students considering a career in the trades, CSM is a great option, with national certifications for North American Technician Excellence for HVAC/R, the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners entry-level exams for the solar industry, American Welding Society certifications, continuing education for master electricians, National Center for Construction Education and Research credentials and National Institute for the Uniform Licensing of Power Engineers.

Students also have an opportunity to be inducted into the National Technical Honor Society and compete for more than $150,000 dollars in scholarships.

The Freestate ChalleNGe Academy’s stated mission is to intervene in the lives of high school dropouts by providing the skills, education and self-discipline needed to produce responsible, productive citizens.

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