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 Cosmetology students Madelyn McMann and Maddison Millett are seniors at Donald R. Kline Technical School from Coxsackie-Athens Central School District. With an interest in hair and a preference for hands-on learning, attending the program seemed like a natural fit for both.
“As a dancer, I’ve grown up doing my own hair and makeup for performances,” said Madelyn. “I’ve always found enjoyment in it and wanted to learn more about it and build a future on it. I thought it was a good idea to get it done now instead of waiting.”
“I like to work hands-on,” said Maddison. “It’s better for me than sitting at a desk, and there’s more opportunity for one-on-one when you’re here.”
Cosmetology students learn a variety of salon-related skills, including hair cutting, coloring, and styling, makeup, waxing, nails, and more. However, the program goes far beyond the technical skills. For example, Maddison is currently doing an internship at Salon 255 in Coxsackie, and all students are focused on work readiness.
“We’re learning a lot of soft skills here,” said Madelyn. “Right now in English, we’re working on building our portfolios and doing mock interviews. We learn about time management, organization skills, and communication skills within a professional environment.”
Many students here feel a connection to their teachers and find their class to be more close-knit. Plus, their teachers bring a lot of credibility to the program, being professionals in the fields they teach.
Maddison shared, “Knowing my teachers have real-world experience, it helps me know that I’m going to know what to do in the future because I’m learning from someone who has done it.”
Madelyn added, “The teachers really care about you here. And you get to learn multiple things that are work-based, we’re learning what to do in the workplace.”
Both students participate in SkillsUSA, where Madelyn is the Treasurer. Through SkillsUSA, students learn about leadership, community service, and more. The Donald R. Kline Technical School chapter has hosted several community service projects this year including a food drive, an anti-bullying day, and wrapping gifts at the mall during the holidays for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Chapter also hosts fundraising events to help cover competition expenses.
While discussing the future and the benefits of our schools, Maddison shared that she feels Questar III has set her up for a career path for life, one that will allow her to go directly into the workforce if she chooses or allows her to save money on college thanks to already learning so many skills. Both students are now preparing for graduation, just a few short months away. Maddison hopes to work in a full-service salon in the future, focusing on facials and skincare. Madelyn hopes to own a full service salon someday. Both students can proudly say they got their start with Questar III BOCES.