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Students in Herkimer BOCES region exposed to local construction career opportunities
Oct. 22, 2015



 
Video highlights above from the 2015 Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day. Several photos with captions are at the bottom of the story.



ORISKANY – Herkimer 10th-grader Tyler Krenichyn, 15, was one of many local students who had the opportunity during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day to operate a large crane to maneuver a tire hanging from the crane down around an orange cone on the ground.

Tyler said it was fun to try the crane, and he appreciated being able to interact with local construction professionals during the event because he wants to go into either the construction or electrical field for his career.

“It’s pretty cool that they give their time to show us what they normally do with their job,” he said.

Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day took place on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. Hundreds of local high-school students attended the event to learn about local construction career opportunities. The event allows students to learn about construction through educational sessions and hands-on demonstrations.

The Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School to Careers program helped attract students from the Herkimer BOCES region to the event to join other students from across the area. STC aims to introduce students to local businesses and career options.

“I think this is another one of those opportunities in the region to get the students out to give them real-world experiences,” STC Director Christopher Groves said. “This is a very hands-on opportunity for students.”

‘The connections’

Groves said it’s great that Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day expanded this year to include students in ninth and 10th grades in addition to students in 11th and 12th grades.

“I think that type of early exposure is critical,” he said.

STC often focuses a lot on connecting students with local businesses, but events like this also allow students to interact with each other to talk about their career goals and strategies, Groves said.

“The connections students are making today not only with business and industry but also with each other are very important,” he said.

From the construction event and the recent Manufacturing Expo at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, STC officials also have been able to interact with many local businesses to strengthen their partnerships, so they can bring even more opportunities to students for this school year, Groves said.

‘Opened my eyes’

Herkimer BOCES senior Ethan Smith, 19, of Mount Markham, started with Herkimer BOCES in ninth grade in what was then called the Regional Learning Academy. The program became the Pathways Academy at Remington starting in his second year.

That was where Smith was introduced to welding simulators that he used in instructor Adam Spatto’s class for two years.

“BOCES helped me a lot,” he said. “It actually opened my eyes and made me grow up a little bit. Having a real-world setting in school made a big difference. I think all students should have some trades experience in school.”

Smith is still in Pathways and is now in the Herkimer BOCES collision repair program as well. During Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day, Smith took the opportunity to give back by showing younger students how to use the welding simulators, which Spatto brought to the event to benefit local students.

“I take pride in it – I really do,” Smith said, of introducing younger students to the welding simulators and helping them learn more about career options. “They need to get some hands-on experience and get a feeling of what they want to do.”

Smith’s collision repair instructor Mike Browne felt it was worth Smith missing class for the day because of the connections he would be able to make at Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day, STC liaison MaryBeth Napolitano said.

“This also helps prepare his 21st Century skills and career readiness skills,” she said.

Napolitano said she is happy to see the success of a student like Smith, who lives and works on a farm while going to school and is willing to work as hard as it takes to achieve his dream of eventually opening his own collision repair shop.

“I think that is so important,” she said. “That is what we’re all about.”

‘Something that I like’

Herkimer 10th-grader Tony Hoffman, 15, was one of the local students who tried out the Herkimer BOCES welding simulators. He wants to go into welding and plans to take either the Herkimer BOCES welding or construction program.

If he doesn’t get a well-paying welding job after graduating from BOCES as many graduates have in the past, then he would go into the military to do welding, he said.

“I’m not a big fan of technology, but when it comes to building, I’m a fan,” he said.

Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day helps students figure out what they want to do for their careers, and it’s a good time, Tony said.

“I get to do something that I like,” he said. “It’s a blast.”

West Canada Valley 11th-grader Travis Comins, 16, who tried out a large crane during the event that he was able to rotate, lower and raise up, said he isn’t sure yet what he wants to do for his career, but he is considering the construction field, so he appreciated getting to visit the local workers’ stations.

“It’s really nice to just see the equipment and get a touch for what the equipment is like – just see if it’s what we want to work with when we get older,” he said. “It’s a great experience.”



Student Ethan Smith
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES collision repair student Ethan Smith, 19, operates a Herkimer BOCES welding simulator on Thursday, Oct. 22, during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. Smith said he was happy to volunteer his time to introduce the welding simulators to younger students.


Student using a welding simulator
Herkimer 10th-grader Austin Travis, 15, maneuvers a Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES welding simulator during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. He said he first tried out the welding simulators last year as a student of the Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington and attended the event to check out local construction careers and learn more about them.



Herkimer students use welding simulators
Herkimer 10th-grader Tony Hoffman, 15, (pictured closest to the camera) uses a Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES welding simulator while other Herkimer students look on during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. Tony said he plans to study welding or construction at Herkimer BOCES and then go into a welding career either locally or through the military.



Student operates a crane
Herkimer 10th-grader River Riggleman, 15, operates a crane as part of his Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day experience on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. “I think it’s fun,” River said, of the event.



Herkimer students controls a crane
Herkimer 10th-grader River Riggleman, 15, controls a crane on Thursday, Oct. 22, during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. “It’s harder than it looks,” he said. “It was fun.”



Herkimer student maneuvers a crane
Herkimer 11th-grader Travis Altieri, 16, takes command of a large crane during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 22, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. The goal was to move a tire hanging from the crane down around an orange cone on the ground. Travis said he learned not to put the crane in neutral because the tire will swing back and forth. He wants to be an environmental conservation officer for his career, but he wanted to attend the event to check out construction career opportunities as a backup option, he said.





 
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