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Construction event at Herkimer BOCES sparks
seventh-graders’ interest in career options

May 6, 2016





Video slideshow from event shown above.



HERKIMER – Early in Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES, Westmoreland seventh-grader Miguel Castro had already tried operating a crane and being strapped into a harness that would be used to lower workers underground.

“It’s really fun,” Miguel, 12, said. “There are hands-on activities and you get to do a lot of cool things and talk to professionals.”

For Miguel and more than 350 other local seventh-graders from 20 districts across three BOCES regions, the day was just getting started.

“I can’t wait to see the rest of construction day,” Miguel said. “It’s been really fun so far.”

The second annual Seventh Grade Construction Career Day was a collaboration among Herkimer BOCES, Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES and Madison-Oneida BOCES, led this year by the Herkimer BOCES School To Careers program with support from Herkimer BOCES career and technical education programs and business partners. The first one was hosted last year at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES.

This year at Herkimer BOCES, there were 45 local professionals working as exhibitors at 23 stations for students to visit in about 15-minute sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., along with time for lunch served by Herkimer BOCES culinary and hospitality students.

Throughout the event, students were engaged, exhibitors were fantastic and professional and Herkimer BOCES STC and CTE staff members made sure the day was a success, School To Careers Director Chris Groves said.

“This is about getting exposure and meaningful experiences to seventh-grade students,” Groves said. “It’s really making those connections between the classroom and the world of work. What we hope to have happen today is students get exposure, and they go back home and have those talks at the dinner table about what they experienced, and it sparks that interest at an early age.”

Canastota seventh-graders Isabella Conklin, 13, and Bailey Doxtater, 12, fresh off of trying bricklaying at a masonry station, said they were having fun at the event.

“It gives us an idea what it’s like when we get older if we want to go into jobs like this,” Isabella said.
Bailey said she enjoyed doing the construction work because she likes getting dirty.

“I feel like it’s really cool because it’s letting us get an idea of what we want to be and of our education in the future,” she said.

Just after controlling a large crane with guidance from exhibitor Greg Tucker, instructor for the Operating Engineers union, Mount Markham seventh-grader Steele Stalloch, 13, said he was enjoying the day.

“It’s pretty fun,” he said.

Steele said he was glad he had the chance to attend the event. He particularly liked the welding station, where students were able to do some welding, and he might want to go into that field now.

“It’s probably something I’d be interested in,” he said.

Tucker said hosting a construction career day for seventh-graders helps the students know that mid-level skills jobs are something they can consider.

“It’s good experience to show them that there are other options other than going to college,” Tucker said.

Exhibitor Gary Bernardo, representing Laborers Local 35, said seventh grade is a good time to start introducing job opportunities to students because it’s about when students might start locking in a career path.

“I think getting them exposure at an early age is a great idea,” Bernardo said. “The fact of the matter is we need young people to get into the trades.”

The opportunities students got introduced to during the event need to be reinforced throughout high school, Bernardo said. When talking to students, he tries to tell them what’s involved with the profession, how much money they can make and how the apprenticeship programs work.

“Basically, what it is, is college for free,” he said, of the two-year apprenticeship program, adding that you come out with no debt and actually also get paid for doing work during the apprenticeship.

Elsewhere at the event, Richfield Springs seventh-graders Izabella Allen, 12; Jacob Patterson, 12; Connor Scheffler, 12, and Cole Bobnick, 13, were among the many students testing out their hammering skills.

“It’s pretty fun,” Izabella said, about the overall day. “I like it because it’s pretty cool.”

Jacob agreed.

“It’s really fun,” he said.

Connor said the masonry station was his favorite, and he enjoyed finding out information from all of the exhibitors.

“I liked it,” he said. “It was fun to see how they all worked.”

Cole said he is interested in going into masonry.

“I liked the hands-on stuff,” he said. “It’s better than being in a classroom.”

Westmoreland seventh-grader Dylan Kimball, 12, said he liked the event because he learned how a lot of different stuff works and more about various construction jobs.

“My favorite part so far is definitely the crane,” he said.

Central Valley seventh-graders Ethan Austin, 13, and Zachary Eaker, 12, were two of the first students from their school to take the chance to sit in a John Deere bulldozer and learn about the controls from Herkimer BOCES heavy equipment operation student Nate Lyga, of West Canada Valley.

“I liked how he told us how to actually work it,” Ethan said.

“Even though it looks pretty hard, it’s actually pretty simple,” Zachary said. “It’s easier than it looks.”

Ethan said he also enjoyed the roofing station, and Zachary said he liked going in a house on site and learning that Herkimer BOCES building construction students built the whole thing.

Both students also said they were impressed with Seventh Grade Construction Career Day.

“I think it’s good because it helps us get a better idea of careers,” Ethan said.

“It gives you more opportunities,” Zachary said. “It gives you interest in it.”

With such high rigorousness and requirements in education today, it was great to see districts from three BOCES regions put the time aside to come together for an event that truly benefits students, Groves said.

"That our district borders don't stop us from providing these opportunities for our students is the part that's really inspiring," he said. "This is how we get kids career ready."



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Central Valley seventh-grader Ethan Austin, 13, tests out the controls of a John Deere bulldozer under the guidance of Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Nate Lyga, a senior of West Canada Valley, during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES heavy equipment operation student Nate Lyga, a senior of West Canada Valley, shows Central Valley seventh-grader Zachary Eaker, 12, how to control a John Deere bulldozer during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Pictured from left to right, Richfield Springs seventh-graders Izabella Allen, 12; Jacob Patterson, 12, and Connor Scheffler, 12, practice hammering during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Trying out hammering during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES brings a smile to the face of Richfield Springs seventh-grader Izabella Allen, 12.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Mount Markham seventh-grader Steele Stalloch, 13, operates a crane following directions from Greg Tucker, instructor for the Operating Engineers union, during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Greg Tucker, instructor for the Operating Engineers union, shows Mount Markham seventh-grader Steele Stalloch, 13, how to use the controls of a crane during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Canastota seventh-grader Madison Watters, 12, uses a crane with guidance from Greg Tucker, instructor for the Operating Engineers union, to maneuver tires around a cone during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES. “I think it was pretty cool,” Madison said, of the event.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Frankfort-Schuyler seventh-graders (left) Vadin Runkevich, 12, and (right) Aaron McDonald, 13, pose for a photograph after trying out welding during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES. “It was cool,” Vadin said.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Westmoreland seventh-grader Miguel Castro, 12, tries out being strapped into a harness with help from Gary Bernardo, representing Laborers Local 35, during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES.



Seventh Grade Construction Career Day
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES building construction senior Kali Yerina (left) shows Canastota seventh-grader Isabella Conklin, 13, how to do masonry work during Seventh Grade Construction Career Day on Friday, May 6, at Herkimer BOCES.








 
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