Celebrating Career and Technical Education Month

Once a path for students who were only seeking vocational skills, career and technical education is now a pathway for students looking to build career skills, get a start on their college education or simply learn a life skill that will allow them to pay for college.

More than 70 percent of high school students who attend our Career & Technical School programs pursue higher education, while many others directly enter the workforce with a highly technical skill set. Regardless of their path, these students are proving to be the lifeblood of the region’s  workforce.

“I want to go into medicine because I like helping people. This is helping to start a career in medicine,” explained Carlee Badger, a senior from the Mohonasen School District who is learning in our Sterile Processing Technician program

Similarly, Dan Reedy, of Watervliet City Schools, appreciates the ability to learn what he wants in a way that works best for him.

“I like that the welding program is physical work instead of sitting at a desk all day, even when we are learning in a classroom at a desk. It’s enjoyable because it’s interesting,” Reedy said.

Capital Region BOCES offers approximately 40 programs that prepare students for specific careers while also helping students hone their communication, interviewing and time management skills, which span the spectrum of careers.

“There’s a large demand from business leaders across the region and state to place an emphasis on college- and career-readiness,” said BOCES’ Senior Executive Office Joseph P. Dragone, Ph.D. “We pride ourselves on the partnerships we continue to make with those businesses to ensure that BOCES is a part of the region’s thriving economic machine.”

Our programs and curriculum are guided by input received from area business owners and others in the business community, many of whom provide work-based learning opportunities for our students. This includes our Engineering Technician program, a partnership between BOCES and GLOBALFOUNDRIES that launched in September 2019 and trains students for careers with high-tech employers in the region and beyond.

Another example is the Telecommunication and Network Cabling Technician program—also launched in Fall 2019 and a direct result of businesses expressing a need for certified and trained fiber optics technicians, lineman and related skilled professionals.

Business partners say our students play a pivotal role in the success of their companies and the economy.

“We work with BOCES and attract students with skills and then we have to bring them in and help mold them into the employee we need,” said Dan Corbett, equipment manager for Lancaster Development.

Dan Corbett, equipment manager for Lancaster Development says that with more open jobs nationally than available employees—7.5 million agencies with only 6 million able workers—it is essential that BOCES’ and business work together to groom the sort of workers they need.

“Companies that aren’t doing this won’t be here for long,” Corbett said.

Dave Knox, service manager for Colonie Mechanical Contractors, agrees.

“Over the years, we have hired at least six employees that graduated from BOCES’ Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) program and we are very satisfied. They are good with their skills, time management and all we ask from them,” he said.