February is Career and Technical Education Month

February is Career and Technical Education Month—a time when school communities across the country celebrate the programs that prepare their students for the workforce and help further their education.

Career and Technical Education—A Pathway For All

Once considered an educational route for just those students seeking to build vocational skills, career and technical education is now a pathway for any and all looking to gain in-demand career and life skills that position them for entering their chosen profession or to  jump-start a college education.

More than 97% of our Career & Technical School graduates enter the workforce, pursue college and/or earn technical school degrees.

Take for example, 2017 graduate Victoria Carl. In the last four years, Carl has earned two college degrees and opened a repair shop with a staff of five and a growing business profile.

“BOCES is where I really found my passion. I always worked on cars, but BOCES is where I got into trucks, gained knowledge and really solidified what I wanted to do,” said Carl.

Students who attend our Career & Technical Education programs earn both career-specific technical skills and other valuable real-world practices, such as public speaking, interviewing, time management and working collaboratively. This gives them the education they need for the future in a manner that best suits them.

Michelle Hunter, a 2007 graduate of the Culinary Tech Prep program, used those skills to not only appear on, but win (!) a national TV show.

“I grew up in restaurants my entire life. My parents owned a couple of restaurants and when I told them I wanted to go into the industry, they were not thrilled. Going to BOCES was a nice in-between to make sure it was what I wanted to do with my life and make my parents happy,” said Hunter, who won a 2020 edition of Chopped, which airs on the Food Network.

“My parents saw me coming home from BOCES at night all excited and happy and that put them at ease,” Hunter said.

Partnering for Success

Capital Region BOCES partners with more than 300 businesses, unions and institutions that offer work-based learning, expert advice and even jobs to students.

Joe Frank, an instructor with the Bricklayers & Allied Crafters Union Local 2, recently said that reaching out to high school students—especially those who already have some training in the skilled trades—is critical to the future of the industry.

“It’s very important for us to get out there and recruit. We come to the BOCES’ centers because we know that is where the workers are, that’s where we find our future leaders,” Frank said.

Jeff Palmer, director of career and technical education at BOCES, said area businesses reach out about partnering with the school and our students on a daily basis.

“There’s a demand among business leaders across the region and state to place an emphasis on college- and career-readiness and help them overcome the national shortage of skilled workers,” Palmer said.

Certified Success

From the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Welding Certification to Adobe Photoshop, the professional certifications students earn in nearly every Career & Technical School program bolster their resumes and assure employers that they bring a professional skill set.  Many of these certifications are recognized nationwide by contractors and employers. And, our adult programs boast a 100% career placement as a result of this training and certification.  

“At Capital Region BOCES, you learn a lot of skills and you get a lot of certificates that will help you get a job,” said Class of 2021 Construction/Heavy Equipment Program graduate Emily Miller.

Expanded Opportunities for Learning in 2022-23

A new, state-of-the-art campus is slated to open for the start of the 2022-23 school year and will be the home for programs currently located on our Career and Technical School, Albany and Center for Advanced @ Mohonasen campuses.

Additionally, a new Early Childhood Education program, launching in Fall 2022, will provide the training needed to help ease the region and nation’s current teacher and childcare shortage.

“It’s an exciting time for BOCES as we build the future one student at a time,” said Palmer.

Visit our Career & Technical Schools

Throughout the months of February and March, our career and technical schools are hosting a series of open house events—on-site and virtually—where prospective students and their families can learn more about all we have to offer. Learn more about upcoming open house events at our Career & Technical Schools and plan to visit with us soon.