Work-based learning matches students with business partners to build the area workforce

Some work in automotive repair facilities, others in hotel kitchens and theaters, and still others in hospitals and manufacturing facilities, but they all have one thing in common—gaining professional experience as part of their education at the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical Education Center.

An integral part of a career and technical education is work-based learning, during which students in nearly all programs gain experience alongside industry professionals.

Thanks to more than 300 Capital Region BOCES business, labor and education partners, students are placed in approximately 80 worksites across the region, from metal fabricators to hotels and garages. A small percentage of those turn into paid internships, said James Hass, work-based learning coordinator for Capital Region BOCES. Some also lead to offers of future jobs and careers.

Take for example class of 2021 graduate Carrera Meyer-Hill, a student in the Sterile Processing Technician program who was hired at Albany Medical Center upon graduation from BOCES and Mohonasen High School.

“Transitioning from BOCES to Albany Med was smooth,” said Meyer-Hill. “I already knew the scenery and how to do the job, which made me super comfortable because this is a serious job to do at a young age. It was great to get a job I felt good in through BOCES.”

February is Career & Technical Education Month. Throughout the month, Capital Region BOCES is highlighting how a CTE education makes a difference and how partnering with businesses creates the workforce of tomorrow.

Current high school seniors Hope Caufield, Mason Kidwell and Trevor Siemann were hired to work at Capitaland Motors GMC-Subaru this year after taking part in work-based learning.

“The people at Capitaland are great. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know if I would trust that I can really work in the auto industry,” Caufield said.

Bill May, Service Manager for Capitaland Motors GMC-Subaru, said “BOCES has provided us with quality students to fill a need in this difficult job market, as well as provide an additional education benefit for the students. Hope, Mason and Trevor have a home with Capitaland when their education is complete.”

Other business owners said the work-based learning program helps them overcome the skilled-worker shortage.

“Over the years, TCI has partnered with Capital Region BOCES on several work-based learning opportunities for students—leading to full-time careers at our company. The training BOCES provides ensures these students are prepared to come to work,” said TCI Inc. Communications Director Mark Westcott.

Shawn Fallen, Sous Chef for the Marriott Albany, said there is no substitute for on-the-job training.

“Experience is the number one key to success in this industry, so that’s why opportunities like this are important,” Fallen said, while working with Culinary Arts & Hospitality Tech junior Alexander Furgason.

For his part, Furgason said he enjoys learning at the Marriott.

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

Global Fashion senior Sophia Berlin was among three students who completed work-based learning at Capital Rep this school year.

“It was absolutely a good experience. It was eye-opening and informative, which is a great educational experience for our industry,” the Bethlehem student said about her time working making costumes for future productions.

For information on how to become a business partner or how to host students for work-based learning, contact Capital Region BOCES Managing Program Coordinator-Business & Community Partnerships Nancy Liddle at 518-862-4823 or or go to