Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 10, 2012

Charles Chattin

He was a pioneer in quality vocational education in area

ASHLAND — Before it merged with Ashland Community College to form Ashland Community and Technical College as a result of the 1997 Higher Education Reform Act, the Ashland Area Vocational-Technical School compiled an impressive record for teaching job skills to young adults and placing more than 85 percent in jobs for which they were trained.

Charles Chattin deserves much of the credit for that success as the former long-time vocational education director for Region 10, which made him the head of the vo-tech school on Roberts Drive.

Chattin died Monday at age 90, but the impact he had on quality adult education in this community continues. Scores of area residents are earning good money as plumbers, electricians, pipefitters, carpenters, mechanics, cosmetologists, etc. because of the excellent training they received at the old vocational-technical school. While they may not have known Chattin personally, he was a major reason why the school thrived.

Chattin constantly worked to expand the role of the vocational-technical school.  If an area employer  needed workers with specific skills, Chattin would see that the school helped meet that need by providing the necessary training.

Chattin was a pioneer in vocational education in this region. He was hired by the Ashland Board of Education in 1954 to direct vocational education. While technically an employee of the city school system, his influence extended beyond the boundaries of the district to include all of northeast Kentucky. He was named Region 10 director in 1968, the same year the vocational-technical school was completed with the support and help of Gov. Ned Breathitt and U.S. Rep. Carl D. Perkins. A lifetime Democrat, Chattin was not shy about using his political influence to advance vocational education in this region.

While he retired in 1989, Chattin continued to be intensely interested in vocational education and he supported the merger of the community college and the vocational-technical school. He recognized that the training programs at the vocational-technical school required  more instruction in computers, mathematics and other academic fields and that a merger with the community college made sense.

In many ways, Chattin’s career in vocational education paralleled the career of the late Dr. Robert Goodpaster, the long-time director of Ashland Community College. They paved the way and the success of their years of dedication to the schools they headed can now be seen in the growing and thriving Ashland Community and Technical College.

Because he retired almost 23 years ago, many of today’s educators have little or no memory of Charles Chattin.  But those of us who do remember him know what a positive and influential source he was in this community.

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