A Need for Skilled Workers
BOCES hosts legislative breakfast
SARATOGASPRINGS, N.Y. >> A BOCES-trained heavy equipment operator, with no college education, can earn $100,000 with full benefits at Wilton-based D. A. Collins, one of the area’s largest construction firms.
Company President Dan Collins called on state lawmakers Friday to fund such programs that prepare the workers needed to rebuild America’s aging roads and bridges.
He and other heads of local businesses were among the more than 100 people gathered for a legislative breakfast at the F. Donald Myers Education Center.
“The need for people to build this country is staggering,” Collins said. “The number of people with a skills background is staggeringly small. There’s going to be a lot of work. We need a skilled workforce. It starts right here with programs like this.”
But state aid only provides for the first $30,000 of a BOCES Career and Technical instructor’s salary, which averages $65,000. The cap was set in 1992.
School officers are lob- bying the Legislature to increase aid to 100 percent of teacher salaries, so more students can take Career and Technical courses, in a wide variety of fields.
The annual breakfast recognizes student accomplishments and gives school officers a chance to share their legislative priorities with state legislators, who can push for funding during the upcoming budget process. Lawmakers in attendance were state Sen. Daphne Jordan, R-Halfmoon, and Assembly members Carrie Worner, DRound Lake; Mary Beth Walsh, R-Ballston; and Dan Stec, R- Queensbury.
Kathy Juckett of Granville-based Telescope Furniture said her firm makes all of the machinery needed to manufacture its products, which are sold around the world. So the company has a constant need for machinists, welders, electricians, and carpenters.
“College isn’t for everybody,” she said. “We need people with basic skills that have something to offer us when they walk through the door.”
Joseph Raccuia said employment at Morcon Tissue, in Cambridge, has grown from 60 to more than 100 workers since he purchased the firm in 2013.
“We need help,” he said. “We need people to run our high-tech maintenance equipment. Our head of maintenance graduated from a BOCES program 25 years ago.”
The breakfast was prepared by BOCES culinary students, while floral centerpieces were created by horticulture students, and health and human services students set up the large dining room. These are among the many other programs BOCES offers.
Students Kora Austin and Alexis Moseman, and Dylan Bruce of Cambridge told how the Skills USA program they’re involved in has helped prepare them for future careers. All three have taken part in local, regional and statewide competitions where they’ve gained valuable experience in their respective fields.
Austin i s studying criminal justice, Moseman is focused on early childhood education, and Bruce is enrolled in an environmental conservation and forestry course. Recently, Bruce gained hands- on experience during a “Saluting Branches” outing at Saratoga National Cemetery, where National Grid employees taught students how to identify and safely remove dangerous trees.
During the program, school officials presented Business & Industry Awards to a pair of local employers that strongly support schools in their respective communities.
Fort Edward Superintendent of Schools Daniel Ward presented an award to Irving Tissue officials. The company has provided $15,000 for an after-school homework space and has also provided equipment for a school robotics program.
Glens Falls Superintendent of Schools Paul Jenkins presented an award to O’Brien Insurance owner John O’Brien, who has organized a business scholarship fund for students and also visits schools regularly to share his knowledge with students.
BOCES culinary students prepared delicious food items for a legislative breakfast at the F. Donald Myers Education Center on Friday.
More than 100school and elected officials attended a legislative breakfast at the F. Donald Myers Center in Saratoga Springs on Friday. Students shared their experiences and the value of Career and Technical Education programs. From left to right are Kora Austin of Saratoga Springs, Dylan Bruce of Cambridge and Alexis Moseman of Saratoga Springs.