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Summer program at Herkimer BOCES
introduces youth to career experiences

Aug. 2, 2016



Transportation students in the summer program
(Left) Jay Arzu, 15, of Herkimer Central School District, and (right) Joseph Mendola, 14, of Little Falls City School District, check the air pressure of a tire during their transportation, distribution and logistics session of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES summer youth employment and training program.



HERKIMER – This summer, 33 local students are experiencing various career fields through a program at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES – and getting paid for it.

Herkimer BOCES applied for and received a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF] grant through Herkimer County in conjunction with the Herkimer County Working Solutions Career Center in order to provide summer youth employment and training to local 14- and 15-year-olds through the program.

“We’ve wanted to do a summer program for a long time, but we’ve never had the resources to provide the program for our local students,” Herkimer BOCES Director of Academic Services Roberta Matthews said. “In this situation, it’s perfect. Maybe we’re able to connect them with something they really love and will want to pursue, so that’s a positive thing.”

The six-week summer program started the week of Monday, July 4, and wraps up the week of Monday, Aug. 8. Students attend for five hours per day on Mondays through Thursdays. Through another grant, the students are able to have free breakfast and lunch during the program as well. The program will host an open house event at 6 p.m. on Aug. 10 at Herkimer BOCES.

Students in the program were able to select three of the following four career clusters to participate in for two weeks per career cluster:
  • Agriculture, food and natural resources – taught by Herkimer BOCES heavy equipment operation instructor Tom Browka;
     
  • Hospitality and tourism – taught by Herkimer BOCES culinary and hospitality instructor Terry Barr and Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington teacher Erica Haver;
     
  • Information technology – taught by Andrew Carpenter, who was the instructor of the Herkimer BOCES Information Technology Academy last school year and will teach in the Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School this school year.
     
  • Transportation, distribution and logistics – taught by Herkimer BOCES automotive technology instructor Craig Miller.
Each career cluster includes at least one field trip. Students also heard from guest speakers from the career clusters and learned skills relative to jobs in the field.

Students in the program learn academic and career readiness skills through job-related work such as is done with Herkimer BOCES CTE classes, Matthews said. The program directly teaches 21st century skills such as shaking hands, dressing appropriately, filling out a time sheet accurately, signing in and out and being responsible, she said.

Central Valley guidance counselor Michelle DelConte has been teaching academic sessions as part of the program and focusing on employability and 21st century skills.

“They’re also learning about finances, so when they get a paycheck, they can make a budget,” DelConte said.

Through a partnership with First Source Federal Credit Union, students are learning how to manage money and use a credit card responsibly, and they will have an opportunity to open a savings account with First Source Federal Credit Union to save a portion of their earnings.

The students are paid $9 per hour through the grant during the program, as they gain a variety of job experiences, find out what work is like and learn how to be employable, Matthews said. They maintain timesheets and sign in and out, she said.

The hope is that this is just the start of an ongoing program to benefit local youth and connect them to career opportunities in the region, Matthews said.

“Next year, we’re hoping to make this much bigger,” she said.

Additional stories spotlighting each of the four career cluster programs will be coming soon including online at www.herkimer-boces.org, www.facebook.com/HerkimerBOCES and www.twitter.com/HerkimerBOCES.



Transportation students in the summer program working on a car
From left to right, Chris Whitaker, 14, of Poland Central School District; Hailie Davis, 15, of Poland Central School District; and Hunter Farr, 14 of Central Valley Central School District, drain oil from a vehicle during their transportation, distribution and logistics session of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES summer youth employment and training program.


Transportation students in the summer program change a car's oil
From left to right, Dominick Bemis, 14, of Central Valley Central School District; Thea Watson, 15, of Little Falls City School District; and Kodi Wellington, 15, of West Canada Valley Central School District, change a vehicle’s oil during their transportation, distribution and logistics session of the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES summer youth employment and training program.





 
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