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.

Be sure to follow us Facebook, Instagram, X, YouTube, and LinkedIn to hear more about our programs and stories like Emily’s below.

Questar III BOCES Nursing Assistant student Emily Carhart is a senior at Robert H. Gibson Technical School from Troy City School District. After seeing family members in the healthcare field, Emily was inspired to apply to the program. While she didn’t know exactly what she wanted to do within the field, she knew that Nursing would be a great start.

There are many benefits to joining a CTE program, including the certifications. Emily shared that she and her classmates have already received their Advanced CPR certification and will be prepared for the Certified Nursing Assistant exam following graduation.

“The biggest benefit to earning these certifications here is that they’re free,” said Emily. “We talk to CNAs at Van Rensselaer Manor during our clinicals, and they’ve shared that their program was expensive and short. Here, we get 10 months to learn the skills, meaning we’re learning everything more in-depth.”

At the beginning of the school year, students spent three days a week with classroom instruction and two days a week in their classroom lab, practicing on mannequins, themselves, and each other. All this work was to prepare them for in-person clinicals. Right now, students work with residents at Van Rensselaer Manor and next month will shift to the Eddy Heritage House.

“It was really exciting to get out into the real world and start our clinicals,” Emily said. “It’s a great feeling to know that we’re helping people and working hands-on. You still learn while you’re out there, but our classwork really prepared us to be there. It’s also nice to work with CNA’s who share the techniques they’ve picked up during their careers.”

The Nursing Assistant program comes with a lot of exposure. In addition to working with patients and CNAs in clinical, they also have a clinical teacher to learn from and their Questar III teacher, Ms. Ashley, an RN. Emily shared that having these professionals share their personal experiences with her and her classmates is helpful as they begin their healthcare journey.

To prepare students for life after high school, students focus on a variety of work readiness skills during their 12th grade ELA class. Emily shared that they are working on portfolios showcasing the hands-on skills they’ve learned, their certifications, resumes, and more. They also get to research and present on various healthcare careers to learn about more opportunities and place a big emphasis on communication skills. They learn how to speak professionally in interviews, as well as learn what interviewers want to hear.

“Being here makes you feel so much more prepared for college and the real world,” Emily stated. “You have that one step ahead when you apply because of your experience, and you overall have more confidence going into whatever career you choose for the future.”

Emily is a member of SkillsUSA where she is the Officer at Large. Through the chapter, she works with her peers to organize fundraisers for competitions and community service projects. But community service was nothing new for Emily.

“I’ve been involved in community service projects since second grade, it’s become second nature to me,” shared Emily. “I think it’s allowed me to see the world a little differently, and now I have the opportunity to carry that with me into a healthcare career.”

Emily has decided to pursue a healthcare career as a sonographer, leaning towards cardiac sonography. While she may not be staying on a nursing path, she does credit this program to exposing her to other healthcare fields, and still intends to work as a CNA while she’s in school. Emily will attend Hudson Valley Community College in the fall.

“Even if a student doesn’t know what they want to do, if there’s something at Questar III that interests them, they should try it,” Emily said. “No one can ever take your education away from you, it’s something that you’ll always have. Even if you don’t like it for a career, it might become useful to you later in life.”

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