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School to Careers program helps expose students to
local manufacturing jobs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute event

Oct. 6, 2014

Manufacturing Day expo at SUNY Polytechnic Institute
Local students and manufacturers visit the expo during the Made in the Mohawk Valley event on Friday, Oct. 3, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of Manufacturing Day. The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School to Careers program helped attract students from Herkimer BOCES, the Pathways Academy at Remington and some BOCES component school districts to the event. To learn more about the Herkimer BOCES School to Careers program, click here or call 315-867-2000.


Local students learned about job opportunities and got a taste of the new era of manufacturing in the region during Made in the Mohawk Valley, a Manufacturing Day event on Friday, Oct. 3, at the Utica Campus of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

While welcoming students and manufacturers from across the region to the event, SUNY Polytechnic Institute Chief Operating Officer Bob Geer said that with the long history of manufacturing in the Mohawk Valley, the industry often makes people think of old brick buildings and mills.

“It’s not that way anymore,” he said. “Manufacturing is the cutting edge.”

The new Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School to Careers program helped guide students from Herkimer BOCES career and technical education programs, the Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington and multiple Herkimer BOCES component school districts to the event to find out more about manufacturing and potential jobs in the area. Component districts that attended included Central Valley, Dolgeville, Mount Markham, Owen D. Young, Poland and Richfield Springs.

Made in the Mohawk Valley was put on by the SUNY Polytechnic Institute, recently renamed from SUNYIT after merging with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany, with help from the Workforce Development Institute, Working Solutions and other organizations. Close to 800 people registered for the event – including local manufacturers and students from 20 school districts and three BOCES.

School to Careers – or STC for short – is a partnership developed by Herkimer BOCES among schools and businesses in the region with a goal of connecting students to jobs in the area through workshops, internships, partnerships and planning.

Damian Prior, 17, a Pathways Academy student from Frankfort-Schuyler, said he is still deciding on what his career will be. Before attending Made in the Mohawk Valley, he didn’t realize how many manufacturing job opportunities there are locally, so he found it positive to know there are different directions students can go if their first plan doesn’t work out.

“It made me think there are a lot more options out there,” he said.

‘In my shoes’

During Made in the Mohawk Valley, students were able to tour an expo, where they could talk to representatives from local colleges and manufacturing companies such as ConMed Corp., Chobani, CTM Corp., Indium Corp. and many others.

They also were able to hear from and ask questions to a panel of people who took different paths to careers with manufacturing companies. The panelists were:
  • Theresa Corr, a New Hartford native and 2011 SUNYIT graduate who is a manufacturing engineer at Trenton Technologies in Utica.
     
  • Victoria Cruz-Griffith, a marketing communications specialist for Indium Corp. whose career path included internships at the Observer-Dispatch, WKTV, her hometown newspaper and Utica College, where she also graduated from in 2012.
     
  • John Metott, principal maintenance technician at Global Foundries in Malta, who previously served in the U.S. Navy nuclear power submarine program and then graduated from Mohawk Valley Community College in 2011.
     
  • Yevgeniy Brutskiy, who just graduated from Whitesboro High School and the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES welding program in June 2014 and is now using his welding skills in a job at Metal Solutions.
Austin Calenzo, an 11th-grader from Mount Markham, is in the Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy and takes collision repair classes at Herkimer BOCES.

Calenzo is planning on going into collision repair work after high school, and he found the Manufacturing Day event helpful and interesting – particularly the student panel and Brutskiy’s discussion of transitioning directly from high school to a welding career in the area.

“Some places you can go right out of high school,” Calenzo said. “It was good to see somebody that was in my shoes a couple years ago doing well after school.”

Laura Pinto, a 10th-grader from Herkimer BOCES component district Poland, said she is still deciding among a few career paths she is interested in, so it was helpful to hear about more options during the Manufacturing Day event. She is considering going into health and nutrition, so she found it interesting to be able to talk to one of the exhibitors about the health industry at a manufacturing event.

She also thought the presentations were beneficial.

“I liked the speeches,” she said. “I thought they were very educational.”

‘Final push’ for CTE diploma

State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi served as the keynote speaker at the event and focused primarily on his efforts to have the state approve a career and technical education diploma option for high-school students. The diploma would allow students to earn a diploma for becoming qualified for a technical career in high school – such as earning a welding certification from a BOCES program. The students would still have to meet high academic requirements and take the majority of the Regents courses.

Brindisi said about 600,000 manufacturing jobs went unfilled in the country last year, and many of those jobs were in this state and in the Mohawk Valley. The CTE diploma option would help students connect to jobs, and it would help employers find qualified workers, he said.

While Brindisi has been pushing to get the CTE diploma approved through his 21st Century Education Initiative legislation, he also has been part of the effort to get the state Board of Regents to approve the idea. The Board of Regents is expected to vote by the end of this month on approving not only a CTE diploma option, but also arts, humanities and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) diploma options.
Brindisi plans to move forward with his legislation either way to make sure a CTE diploma can be offered, he said.

“I’d say we’re on the goal line, but we need a final push to get over,” Brindisi said.

Herkimer BOCES welding student Daniel Masi, an 11th-grader from Herkimer Central School District, could relate to what Brindisi was talking about.

Masi, who plans to go into welding for his career, thought Brindisi’s push for a CTE diploma was a good idea.
“I’d like that,” Masi said. “That would help a lot.”

Masi said he enjoyed the event and thought the booths in the expo were “great.” Masi also found it helpful to hear from Brutskiy during the student panel that math is used every day when working a welding job and about what certifications and skills are needed for a welding career.

To learn more about the Herkimer BOCES School to Careers program, click here or call 315-867-2000.

Manufacturing Day student panel
Students from across the region listen to a panel of people who took very different paths to careers working for manufacturing companies during Made in the Mohawk Valley on Friday, Oct. 3, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of Manufacturing Day.


Students and manufacturers visit the Manufacturing Day expo
Local students and manufacturers visit the expo during the Made in the Mohawk Valley event on Friday, Oct. 3, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of Manufacturing Day.


Manufacturing Day student panel
A panel of people who took a variety of paths to careers working for manufacturing companies in New York state presents to local students during the Made in the Mohawk Valley event on Friday, Oct. 3, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of Manufacturing Day.


Manufacturing Day expo
Local students and manufacturers visit the expo during the Made in the Mohawk Valley event on Friday, Oct. 3, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute as part of Manufacturing Day.


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