HFM BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel said “The majority of today’s entry-level employment requires at least some amount of college-level experience. What we often hear from businesses is that high school graduates in this region are not adequately prepared to pursue positions in manufacturing, the service industry and retail environments. Our new apprenticeship program is designed to combine upper-level academic work with real-world workplace experiences to help students identify and explore career options earlier in their education.’
The apprenticeship program, set to launch with the 2013/14 school year, is a partnership between HFM BOCES Career and Technical Education, Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, Fulton Montgomery Community College and the Hamilton-Fulton-Montgomery Business Education Alliance.
The apprentice program allows high school students to explore these opportunities and prepare to step into a local job after graduation.
Students who opt into the program in ninth grade will take core academic classes as well as learn technical, job-related skills and work-readiness skills such as critical thinking and responsibility. During their sophomore year, they continue core academics and have the opportunity for workplace experiences in a variety of area businesses.
The work readiness classes and workplace experiences have been approved for high school credit by the State Education Department.
During the summer, between grades 10 and 11, students select a job placement and begin their formal apprenticeships.
Students continue the relationship with their employers through a schedule customized to meet their individual academic and work-readiness needs through graduation. Upon graduation, the student will be prepared to step into an entry-level position with that company.
A top priority for all HFM BOCES component school districts is encouraging and motivating students who are at risk of dropping out.
According to HFM BOCES Career & Technical Education Director Jay DeTraglia, the program can launch students on a “meaningful and successful start of a career pathway, leading to further educational and fiscal advancement.’
Diana Marshall, owner of the Gloversville Sewing Center and chairperson of the Chamber’s Education Committee, believes the program promises to be an exciting opportunity for both business and education in the region.
Marshall said, “To launch this new, ground-breaking initiative in Fulton, Montgomery and Hamilton counties is a real feather in the cap for our schools and our area businesses. To collaborate in a process that educates our children and prepares them to succeed in the workplace after graduation is incredible.’
On Friday, May 3, FMCC and HFM BOCES will host more than 1,000 eighth graders from area school districts at a Career Exploration Day to introduce the students to area businesses and the kind of jobs they offer. A project for the students has been created that classroom teachers may use as preparation and follow-up to the event.
Dr. Michael says, “We would like students to identify and explore career options earlier in their educational timeline. This event is shaping up as a fun, interactive experience around a solid educational core. It’s a helpful tool to get kids thinking about our communities and the kinds of jobs here, and what they may want to do with their future.’