POINT PLEASANT — It was the first day of school for all of Mason County, and for Bill Mallette, the first day of his 28th year at Mason County Career Center.
Sam Nibert, lead teacher at the career center said he would like to hold the machine tool technology instructor up as an example of consistent hard work and dedication to the job.
Mallette hasn’t missed a day of work in 28 years.
“He has 27 years here, and there’s not a better role model to look at, county-wide,” said Nibert.
Nibert said he would like to challenge parents and other caregivers to make sure their students are at school at the proper time every day to ensure they all have the same opportunities to succeed.
“We feel that we are providing equal educational opportunities here, and we want it to stay that way,” Nibert said.
Nibert said that the career center maintains high standards for consistent attendance and punctuality.
“We want the kids to have a good education and we’re going to be tracking things this year: attendance and tardiness. It starts with attendance, whether you’re in school or out of school. Employers look for attendance and tardiness.”
Nibert said that the center’s administration has agreed on the importance of a positive approach to education.
“Ruth Kapliner is the vocational director, and has made a commitment to career readiness,” said Nibert.
Mallette teaches students a range of skills with machinery; both manual and automated design.
“I have some computer controlled machines; the computer generates the part with no manual measuring,” said Mallette.
He added that he is seeing an increasing demand for computer-controlled machines, and those skilled to work with them.
“But it goes both ways in this area. It just depends on the work that they’re actually doing.”
In Mallette’s classes, the end products tend to be auto parts, tools, and gears. He assesses his students using various criteria.
“I grade on size and correctness,” he said, “Students have to be conscientious in using the machines, lining parts up to make sure they’re centered and precise.”
The students also have opportunities to work on equipment used in the real world.
“We do a lot of work on buses for the county garage,” Mallette said, “and a lot for the city of Point Pleasant, the Department of Highways, and even the National Guard. When the students get out into the world, they know how to do these things.”
Mallette said that his particular class leads mainly to jobs as machinists who produce parts or fix broken machinery.
Nibert said that about 50% of the vocational students go into the workforce, while the other half go on to post-secondary education, many in the science field.
“When we have 50% of students going into the workforce, we need to make sure they’re doing things in a timely fashion.”
The center offers various vocational courses in addition to machine tool technology, including welding, robotics, drafting, business, and culinary arts. Nibert said that the public is welcome to visit the career center or call (304) 675-3039.