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Herkimer BOCES School To Careers connects
local students to Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day

Oct. 21, 2016



Students work on electrical wiring at Construction Day
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy students (left) Matthew Baldwin, of Herkimer, and (right) Sukhjinder Hamilton, of Poland, get their hands on some electrical wiring during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.



ORISKANY – Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Isaiah Grassel expects to work in construction after graduating from high school, so he found Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day interesting.

“The equipment and stuff is really nice,” he said. “There’s quite a bit of stuff here. I think it’s helpful, especially if you’re unsure about what you want to do.”

Grassel, of Dolgeville, was just one of many students in the Herkimer BOCES region who attended Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany through the Herkimer BOCES School To Careers program. Students were able to try out various construction jobs by hammering nails, operating a crane, using virtual reality to spray-paint and much more.

STC aims to connect students to local job opportunities, and this is the third year STC has been coordinating with schools in the Herkimer BOCES region to bring students from the schools, from Herkimer BOCES programs and from the Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy at Remington to Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day.

“We’ve continued to kind of act as the conduit for our district, BOCES and Pathways students to have the opportunity to participate,” STC Director Christopher Groves said. “This is another one of those hands-on type of experiences that students can really build from. The connections that they’re making today are ones that will last for them because these folks here are passionate about what they do and about educating students.”

Access to events such as the construction day is important, Groves said.

“I think it’s part of what we need to do as educators to provide students with these opportunities.”

Herkimer Central School District ninth-grader Michael Massaro attended through STC’s arrangement and said he saw a lot of construction options at the event.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said.

Bruce Bennett, a BOCES itinerant technology teacher who was chaperoning for Herkimer students at the career day, said it can help students determine if there are construction jobs they like – or if there are jobs they don’t enjoy.

“It’s a great hands-on opportunity for a lot of kids to get real-world experience,” he said.

The construction industry has many jobs that provide the benefit of getting paid while training for the jobs, Bennett said.

“There’s a demand for it nationally and locally, so it’s a good opportunity to get jobs locally,” he said.

One of the popular exhibits was the confined space retrieval equipment operated by Gary Bernardo, a field coordinator for the New York State Laborers' Union LECET. The equipment is typically used to raise someone out of a confined space in an emergency situation, Bernardo said. Students were able to get strapped into the equipment and lifted into the air.

Herkimer BOCES Pathways Academy students Matthew Baldwin, of Herkimer, and Brooke Green, of Richfield Springs, said trying the confined space retrieval equipment was probably their favorite part of the day.

“It felt pretty weird,” Baldwin said.

Green said she found the whole event interesting, and it was fun to try the retrieval equipment.

“It felt like I was on a swing,” she said.

Pathways Academy student Sukhjinder Hamilton, of Poland, who worked on electrical wiring with Baldwin at one of the stations, said his favorite parts of the event were the electrical and building exhibits.

Herkimer BOCES heavy equipment operation program instructor Tom Browka brought several of his students to the event, after also attending in 2015.

“It helped me last year as a new teacher,” he said. “That’s where I made my contacts.”

As a result of last year’s event, Browka got to know others teaching similar programs in the area and found some industry workers to visit his class and teach certifications.

This year, Browka asked his students to take selfies with exhibitors during the event and write down their names and starting salaries for their positions.

“It’s an opportunity for them to intermingle,” he said.

Heavy equipment students Zach Dillenbeck, of Dolgeville, and Cody Lyman, of Mount Markham, said the event was “pretty cool.”

Dillenbeck said he enjoyed using the Cat Backhoe, and he wants to go into construction after graduating.
“I don’t know what I want to do yet, but I definitely want to work stuff,” he said.

Lyman also said he wants to go into a construction career after graduation.

“That’s what I’d like to do,” he said.




Student remote controls an excavator
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Isaiah Grassel (on the right), of Dolgeville, operates a Brokk 100 excavator during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.


Student remote controls an excavator
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Isaiah Grassel (on the right), of Dolgeville, operates a Brokk 100 excavator during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.


Student tries out confined space retrieval equipment
Herkimer Central School District ninth-grader Michael Massaro hangs from a confined space retrieval with assistance from Gary Bernardo (on the left), a field coordinator for the New York State Laborers' Union LECET, during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany. Bernardo said the equipment is typically used to raise someone out of a confined space in an emergency situation.


Student tries wiring at electricians station
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Pathways Academy student Brooke Green, of Richfield Springs, works with some electrical equipment during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.


Student operates a crane at Construction Day
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Cody Lyman, of Mount Markham, operates a crane during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.


Student operates a crane at Construction Day
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Cody Lyman, of Mount Markham, operates a crane during Mohawk Valley Construction Career Day on Thursday, Oct. 20, at the Oneida County Department of Public Works in Oriskany.






 
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