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Poland students exposed to career options through
event organized by Herkimer BOCES School To Careers

March 25, 2016







POLAND – Hummel’s Office Plus Chief Operating Officer Harrison Hummel IV detailed to Poland students during Career Exploration Day on March 18 how it’s important for the company to pay attention to details, provide strong customer service and make helpful recommendations to clients.


“You have to be so important to people that they can’t picture what they would do without you,” Hummel said. “That’s the position you want to put yourself in. That’s in any business.”


Hummel was one of the many representatives from local businesses on hand for the Career Exploration Day, which was organized for Poland students in grades 7-12 by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program. Poland elementary students also had their own career fair on the same day organized by Poland staff.


Career Exploration Day


For the grades 7-12 Career Exploration Day, Herkimer BOCES School To Careers liaison MaryBeth Napolitano arranged for at least one local industry official to be on hand for each of the 16 career clusters – with the exception of a cancellation for one of the clusters – and students were able to visit with guests from six clusters they were interested in.


“Today’s event is about career exposure – exposing students to careers within each of the 16 career clusters and giving them the opportunity to hear it first hand from our local business and industry professionals sharing their knowledge, their expertise, as well as their journey to success,” Napolitano said. “Our goal together – Poland Central School District and Herkimer BOCES School To Careers, along with our presenters here today – is to enlighten students to the many career opportunities right here in their own backyard: the greater Mohawk Valley.”


During the opening portion of the event, Poland Middle/High School Principal Greg Cuthbertson also highlighted that the goal of the day was to expose students to career opportunities they might want to pursue in the future. Cuthbertson encouraged students to learn as much as they could from the guest presenters.


“You should ask questions because that’s how you gain knowledge,” he said.


Ray Durso Jr., executive director of The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley, served as the keynote speaker and one of the presenters. He reinforced Cuthbertson’s point about learning from the presenters.


“Whether you know at this age what you want to do or you don’t, now is the time to ask questions,” he said.


Durso told students he wants them to be inspired by their career path, to be careful on social media, to realize they have people available to support them and for student-athletes to recognize that they’re students first.


“Every effort that you put into your homework and your studies is going to pay off later in life,” he said.


The presentations


At the end of the Career Exploration Day, Poland Student Council President James Kattato led off the student feedback by saying the Career Exploration Day presentations were intelligent and beneficial even if you didn’t know anything about the career field before going into them. Other students shared thoughts including that all of the presenters were local and made the students want to stay and work in this region, that students’ options are not limited and that students learned a lot from the presentations.


Napolitano also pointed out that many of presenters emphasized the importance of soft skills.


“Present yourself in a very respectful and professional manner,” she said.


In the manufacturing career cluster section, Napolitano asked Edward Jackson, plant manager at Hale Manufacturing Co., about what he looks for in potential employees.


“Me personally, I would rather have somebody with the soft skills and intangibles that you can’t train,” Jackson said.


He added that it’s important to know how to get your point across.


“Learn how to communicate with people,” he said.


Jackson said there are many jobs within manufacturing such as machine workers, accountants, sales representatives, middle supervisors and upper managers, and customer service is a big part of the business.


Career advice


In the information technology career cluster section for the Career Exploration Day, Beth Tolman, user services manager in the Information Technology Services Department at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, explained that her job involves providing support for all technology on campus.


Tolman stressed the importance of interpersonal skills for her job such as the ability to walk up to people to talk to them and find out what their technology issue is.


She also provided details to students about various jobs such as a computer analyst, software developer, web developer, information technology manager, information security analyst, database administrator, computer support worker, computer systems administrator and coding worker.


Tolman said there is a need for educational focus and more interest in technology-related jobs.


“The demand for highly skilled workers is rising, and the supply of highly skilled workers is declining,” she said.


In the business, management and administration career cluster, Hummel said the industry requires being flexible. He gave an example of recently having too many truck drivers out, so he had to deliver items to customers himself.


“Every day will throw you a curveball,” he said.


Mathematics, such as for adding things up quickly in your head for clients, and English, such as for writing detailed proposals for clients, are probably the two most important subjects for students to focus on if going into the career cluster, Hummel said.


Hummel also warned students not to hurt their chances of employment by what they post on social media.


“It is so important that you give yourself every opportunity to look good to the person hiring you,” he said.


As other presenters did, Hummel highlighted the need for strong soft skills such as being able to have a conversation, look someone in the eyes and have a firm handshake.


“The personal interaction between two people is where business started,” he said.


 


Poland Career Exploration Day Presenters by Career Cluster
The Career Exploration Day organized by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on March 18 at Poland Central School District featured at least one presenter from each of the 16 career clusters except for a cancellation for the art, audio/visual technology and communications career cluster.


The following is a list of the guest presenters who attended for each of the other 15 career clusters:

 
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources Technologies: Philip Tangorra, water quality director at the Mohawk Valley Water Authority.
     
  • Architecture and Construction: Steve Perez, general superintendent of Gaetano Construction, and Brad Talbot, project manager/estimator at Gaetano Construction.
     
  • Business, Management and Administration: Harrison Hummel IV, chief operating office of Hummel’s Office Plus.
     
  • Education and Training: Ray Durso Jr., executive director of The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley.
     
  • Finance: Mike Cook, financial center manager at AmeriCu.
     
  • Government and Public Administration: Al de Prix, legislative aide for state Sen. Hugh Farley.
     
  • Health Services: Jeremy Pain of the Department of Physical Therapy at Bassett HealthCare and At Home Care.
     
  • Hospitality and Tourism: Jacqueline White, general manager of Erie Canal Cruises.
     
  • Human Services: Cheryl Zumbo, general manager of Staffworks.
     
  • Information Technology: Beth Tolman, user services manager at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.
     
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections and Security: Hon. John Brennan, Herkimer County Family Court judge.
     
  • Manufacturing: Edward Jackson, plant manager at Hale Manufacturing Co.
     
  • Marketing: Mark Cushman, vice president of marketing at Giotto Enterprises: FIS
     
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics: Jim McCoy, talent acquisition coordinator at Indium Corp., and Anne McKerrow, of human resources at Indium Corp.
     
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics: Matt OBreza, vice president of Richard OBreza Trucking Inc.
 
 
 
Harrison Hummel
 
Hummel’s Office Plus Chief Operating Officer Harrison Hummel IV speaks to Poland students during the school’s Career Exploration Day, put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on March 18.
 



Beth Tolman
 
Beth Tolman, user services manager in the Information Technology Services Department at SUNY Polytechnic Institute, talks about her love of technology during the Poland Central School District Career Exploration Day, put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on March 18.
 


 
Ray Durso
 
Ray Durso Jr., executive director of The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley, served as the keynote speaker and one of the presenters at the Poland Central School District Career Exploration Day, put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on March 18. Pictured here, Durso called some Poland students up to the front. He asked them to commit to trying their best at doing as many jumping jacks as they could in 30 seconds while one of the students timed the others and Durso counted. Despite each student completing a different number of jumping jacks, Durso said the answer to the question of who won is that all of the students won because they followed through on their commitment to try their best.
 


 
Jackson of Hale Manufacturing
 
Hale Manufacturing Co. Plant Manager Edward Jackson speaks to Poland students during the school’s Career Exploration Day, put on by the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES School To Careers program on March 18.
 



 
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