Senate Education Committee members tour, praise Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical Education Center

Members of the New York State Senate Education Committee toured the Capital Region BOCES Career & Technical Education Center – Albany Campus (CTE) on Monday, meeting and praising the faculty, staff and students.

During a 90-minute visit, the state senators and education committee staff members learned how BOCES is addressing the national skilled worker shortage and providing students with valuable life and career skills.

“We are big supporters of CTE, and I am thrilled to see the work being done in these state-of-the-art classrooms. It’s wonderful,” said Sen. Shelley Mayer, Chair of the New York State Senate Education Committee. Mayer was joined on the tour by Sens. James Tedisco and Jacob Ashby.

Accompanying them were Capital Region BOCES District Superintendent Lauren J. Gemmill, Assistant District Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Karen Swain, Director of Special Projects & Strategic Partnerships Joseph P. Dragone, Career and Technical Education Director Jeff Palmer and BOCES Faculty Association President Katie DiPierro.

Tedisco and Ashby praised Capital Region BOCES as providing a long-term solution to the problems New York state is facing.

“This is what we need for the future of New York state. We have an outward migration problem. Young people are leaving us at a record pace, and we need facilities like this to stem the tide. BOCES is part of the solution to keeping kids and young families here,” Tedisco said.

“The curriculum reflects the changing, increasingly advanced nature of our manufacturing, health sciences and energy sectors and creates rewarding opportunities for our children. This was a great tour, and my colleagues and I will bring what we learned today to the Senate this session,” added Ashby. 

Opened in August, 2022, the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Center – Albany Campus houses 25 programs for high school students, several more for adult students, and is home to more than 1,100 of the approximately 1,400 Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education students enrolled for the current school year.

Faculty members, such as Welding and Metal Fabrication teacher Don Mattoon, Building Trades teacher Paul Roberts and Automotive Trades Technology teaching assistant Scott Hamel told the delegation about the work taking place in their classrooms and the impact it is having on the industry.

“Everything you touch during the day, someone in welding has touched,” Mattoon said. “That’s why the work being done here in teaching welding to these students is so important.”

Roberts encouraged the senators to expand training in the skilled trades to younger grades, while Hamel spoke about the 100% job placement for graduates of the auto program who pursue careers in the industry. 

Students also praised the education they receive at BOCES.

“This class is great; we learn everything from safety to proper use of tools to framing, stair construction and more,” said Elijah Edwards, a Schenectady High School senior who attends the Building Trades program.

Gemmill and DiPierro thanked the senators for taking the time to visit Capital Region BOCES.

“We were pleased to welcome Sens. Mayer, Ashby and Tedisco to the Albany Campus and to offer them a front row seat to the learning and workforce development taking place in our classrooms and labs. Demand for workers in the skilled trades has never been greater, and we are extremely proud to have near-record enrollment in our programs and strong relationships with business, government and organized labor. It is through these partnerships that we offer exceptional opportunities for our students to not only build their careers, but flourish professionally. We thank the senators for their time and continued support of our students, faculty and staff,” Gemmill said.

DiPierro added “It was a pleasure to be invited by Sen. Mayer to be a part of the tour. Our faculty members represent every facet of the workforce, from retired law enforcement officers to welders, machinists and video game designers. I am extremely proud of the work they do on a daily basis in sharing their insight and skills with our students.”