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Charles Berry

Photo of Charles BerryDuring most of his time in high school, Charles Berry wasn’t planning on going to college. But a “boot camp” kicked him into high gear –as in working with big motors, electrical controls, program logic control and hydraulics.

After attending the weeklong High School Manufacturing Boot Camp, Berry, now 20, received a scholarship to the Bluegrass Community and Technical College industrial maintenance program.

“The road I was going on – I wasn’t going to go to college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Berry said. “I did a big turnaround in one week just because of a boot camp.”

He took most of his courses at the Advanced Technology Center in Georgetown. The classes were small, which meant he had more one-on-one time with the instructor. Also, the location was convenient because it is close to his Scott County home.

“I could have a steady job while I was in Georgetown and then come from work to school,” he said.

The hands-on training he received was invaluable, he said. Most of his instructors had experience in the field and “know what we are expected to know,” Berry said.

Berry also liked how he received hands-on training early in the program. If he was in a four year program, he may get work experience until his senior year of college, he said. He plans to graduate with an associate’s degree at the end of the 2009 summer semester.

“In a way it helps you get in and out the door, but you got to work at it to meet the two-year degree program,” Berry said. “So it’s pretty good if you want to get in and out and get a job quick, it’s beneficial.”

It’s that accessibility that Berry appreciates about BCTC. “They were willing to let people come if they want to learn,” he said. “It never crossed my mind that I wanted to do this until (I went to) the boot camp.”