Questar III BOCES celebrates Career and Technical Education Month®, an opportunity to showcase our students, while also recognizing the importance of our programs to the region and economy.
New York State is experiencing a skills gap. While 49% of New York jobs require skilled training – more education than high school, but less than a 4-year degree – only 37% of New Yorkers are trained at this level. Students enrolled in our CTE programs are learning the skills they need to help bridge this gap, while setting themselves up for successful careers in high-demand fields.
Questar III BOCES Heavy Equipment students Dylan Saviano and Tyler Shuhart are seniors at Robert H. Gibson Technical School from New Lebanon Central School District. While they started their programs with varying degrees of experience, they both have a similar end goal – to enter the workforce after graduation.
Tyler had no prior experience with heavy equipment before joining the program but has family in the industry. Meanwhile, Dylan grew up on a farm.
“I’ve been around (equipment) since I was a little kid,” said Dylan. “From seeing it, being in it, building swings with buckets in ponds, to running them, I grew up with it. I used to sit in the excavator with my dad and grandpa, and around 9 (years old), I was running a tractor, pulling hay wagons, and bailing hay”.
So far, both students have enjoyed the hands-on learning experience and how different CTE is compared to a traditional school.
“I like the open range that we have,” shared Tyler. “This school and our teachers give us a chance to do things on our own. They have trust in us.”
Dylan added, “The teachers here are the same type of people as us. We all get along well, and they understand us. I like being able to go outside, be hands-on, and not sit in a chair.”
When asked about the benefits of this program, both students agreed that they appreciated the importance the class makes on safety and career readiness, including the certifications they earn.
“We get to learn about real-world things, including your day-to-day safety precautions,” said Dylan. “You get an understanding of being in the workforce, and also making it home at the end of the day.”
Tyler added, “You also earn certifications here that you would otherwise have to pay for yourself. That puts us a step ahead.”
Part of Dylan and Tyler’s classwork last year and the beginning of this year has included a brand-new basketball court for the school. Students worked together to handle the prep work before another company provided pavement and set up the hoops.
“I think this project gave us some of the most real-world experience,” Tyler said. “We used skid steers and excavators to grade, the dump truck to move material, and we experienced getting a site ready for another company to come in to do their portion of the work.”
Projects like this coupled with exposure to local businesses have prepared both students for the workplace. Tyler used his program experience for a job last summer, and Dylan will be starting an internship soon. They’ve been exposed to numerous companies through field trips and classroom guest visits. Warren W. Fane, Callanan Industries, Milton Cat and the 109th Airlift Wing in Scotia are a few that stuck out to Dylan and Tyler.
As Dylan and Tyler are readying for graduation, they commented on how their time with Questar III can be seen as credibility with future employers. Additionally, the contacts they’ve made so far can help as they prepare to enter the workforce.
“This program gives you connections with a lot of companies, allowing you to get your name out there,” said Tyler. “A lot of companies know Questar III.”
“It was a no brainer for me to attend CTE,” said Dylan. “The BOCES name speaks for itself to why I came here, and it speaks to companies for networking.”
Following graduation, Tyler aspires to join a union or return to the company he worked for last summer or other similar companies. His goal is to become a heavy equipment operator. As for Dylan, he also plans to enter the workforce and is starting to explore his options. His goal is to become a future entrepreneur.