The Pennsylvania School Code of 1949, as amended, authorized the formation of area vocational technical schools. The Altoona Area Vocational-Technical School was founded in 1966 by agreement between the Altoona Area School District and the Bellwood-Antis School District. Thirty years later in 1996 an institutional name change took place. The school is now known as the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center (GACTC). There are currently eight school districts that jointly sponsor the GACTC.
The board of governance, known as the Joint Operating Committee (JOC), is comprised of twenty members representing the respective school boards of the eight sponsoring school districts.
The GACTC offers twenty-seven approved secondary programs on a half-day basis and a number of full time adult programs. An intergenerational initiative also allows adults to enroll in secondary programs.
The GACTC has institutional accreditation through the Middle States Association of Secondary Schools. A number of individual programs meet specific industry skill standards and hold additional certifications.
The mission of the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center is to provide high school students and adult learners a superior career and technical education consistent with accepted academic and skill standards.
The GACTC strives to integrate academic and technical skill instruction for high school students and adult learners as required to achieve industry skill standards. The culture of the school fosters intrinsic motivation and rewards student initiative and teamwork. A premium is placed upon excellence in student achievement in both academic and skill-specific areas of study. Students convey a sense of ownership that reflects the dignity of work well done, thereby increasing a student’s opportunity for a fulfilling life through a successful career.
The school envisions a learning environment that is progressive, well maintained, and incorporates innovative technology. Teachers inspire student learning and engage in professional development to enhance teaching skills. Students and staff take pride in personal appearance and embrace the importance of a professional demeanor.
The school serves as an important resource for local business and industry and is viewed as a first option for high school students and adults seeking a viable career path.