For BOCES students, education is a little ‘bedder’ when learning skills at hotel

Students from a couple of Capital Region BOCES programs are gaining workplace skills and making professional connections at the Albany Marriott.

Students from the Culinary Arts and Hospitality Technology and Building Trades programs are taking part in work-based learning at the Wolf Road hotel, learning about the various culinary and lodging industry jobs that exist.

During a recent workday, Building Trades students Lautaro Robinson and Anton Palma were working on a heating and ventilation unit in a shop, while Culinary Arts student Alexander Furgason prepared muffins in the kitchen.

A chef and his student prepare a dish from inside the kitchen.
Alex Furgason, of Shenendehowa, and Marriott Sous Chef Shawn Fall, prepare a dish from inside the kitchen.

“While it’s important for students to learn in the classroom and labs, there is nothing more important than students gaining first-hand experience and knowledge in an establishment through work-based learning,” Work-Based Learning Coordinator James Haas said.

Students gained experience in various careers while at the Marriott and learned about how the hotel industry connects to many job types.

“Work-based learning helps me a lot by giving me experience and helping me work towards my goal of being an architect,” said Robinson, who attends BOCES from the Shenendehowa Central School District.

“I like work-based learning a lot. It is fun because I like working with my hands and not sitting at my desk all day,” added Palma, a Schenectady High School student.

For Furgason, working at the Marriott provides a new layer of learning.

“It’s a good experience and a good environment to learn in,” said the Shenendehowa student.

The Marriott is one of at least 80 work-based learning sites for Capital Region BOCES. These businesses provide not only first-hand learning opportunities for students, but also a link to post-high school employment and career growth.

Marriott representatives said the experience is valuable for future workers.

“It’s important for the kids to see what happens behind closed doors and gain this experience,” said Bashar Akari, Chief Engineer for the Marriott Albany.

“Experience is the number one key to success in this industry, so that’s why opportunities like this are important,” added Shawn Fallen, Sous Chef for the Marriott.

For information on how to become a business partner or how to host students for work-based learning, go to