March 11, 2011
BOCES job training brightens economic prospects
52 people graduate from six-month program that teaches them new career though internships
CORTLANDVILLE — Yuri Fainey decided to try a different career path after living in the U.S. for 21 years and working for 18 years with machines that make surgical needles.
He liked machinery and enjoyed tinkering with automobiles, so he enrolled in the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES adult training program to learn the trade of automotive technician.
“I have liked cars since I was young and it will be easier to find a job,” said the 52-year-old Syracuse resident, a Ukraine native, at Thursday’s BOCES graduation at McEvoy Center auditorium.
“Jobs with the surgical needle company went overseas, to Puerto Rico,” Fainey said after receiving his certificate along with 51 other students in six programs. “I am very good at using machines. I thought I could be an electrician, but I liked this better.”
The students received certificates in training programs such as automotive technician, cosmetology, office technology, medical assistant, electrical maintenance technician and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.
The programs last for six weeks and involve internships. The medical assistant program requires 32 hours per week, for a total of 780 hours.
Many students take the courses while working and raising families.
Their instructors introduced them and had them come to the stage for their certificates. The instructors also spoke about the sacrifices the students had made and the bright job prospects in their fields.
“Many BOCES students found the need to reinvent themselves because of the poor economy, jobs coming to an end or just their own choice,” said Harvey Goyette, HVAC/R instructor, who had nine graduates. Retirements, aging systems in houses and higher complexity in systems will increase demand in HVAC/R by 2018, leading to a 28 percent increase in jobs or 81,600 nationwide.
Barbara Rainville, who had five graduates in office technology, said the growing medical field will require thousands of more people with the skills to help physicians and nurses manage health care. Rebekah Slack, instructor for the medical assistant program, said her 15 graduates reflected that same growth in health care fields.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says medical assistant jobs will grow by 34 percent or 163,900 by 2018 and office clerk jobs will grow by 12 percent or 358,700, especially for those with computer training.
Electrical maintenance technicians will have a skill set that can be applied in different specialties such as industrial, residential, commercial and utilities electrical work, said instructor Steve Keep.
“I hope they never stop learning,” Keep said of his six graduates.
Cosmetology had six graduates and the automotive technician program had 11.
Kenneth Krueger, 21, from North Syracuse, said he studied for the automotive technician certificate because he tried taking courses in criminal justice at Onondaga Community College but did not like memorizing information from books.
He did, however, like working on his 1971 Chevelle.
“There’s a lot to it, cars use electronics, so you’re always testing and going through everything to find problems,” he said.
Krueger said he took the course at night while working for his family’s funeral home.
Scott Neville, 50, of Cortland, said he studied for his electrical maintenance technician certificate after receiving the HVAC/R certificate three years ago. He wanted both sets of skills so he could improve his employment chances.
“I’ve always worked in construction until now,” he said. “I’ve been working with Tom Ellis Refrigeration in Johnson City, and there’s a lot of electrical work involved. Both markets are booming.”
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