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Central Valley Career Day gives students a glimpse at life’s possibilities

woman showing device to student

Dr. Karen Jones, Associate Professor at Herkimer College’s Physical Therapy Assistant program, invites students to try out a hand dynamometer.

Jarvis Middle School and CVA students learned about career opportunities from more than 60 local professionals during Central Valley’s Career Exploration Day on Friday, Nov. 2 at CVA. The professionals spoke candidly about their jobs and answered questions about their personal career paths.

Jarvis and CVA guidance counselor departments worked with the Herkimer BOCES’ School to Careers (STC) program to organize the day. Jarvis Middle School had partnered with STC for the past two years, while CVA students had attended career events off campus. With the seventh and eighth grades in the high school while Jarvis is under renovation, it made sense to expand the program to include all students 7-12.

“We are really pleased that we had so many presenters willing to share their experiences with our students,” said Jarvis Guidance Counselor Shannon Buttacaroli.

“Herkimer BOCES’ School to Careers Liaison MaryBeth Napolitano and Schools to Careers Counselor Rebecca Roberts put together an incredible group of professionals.”

Students attended five 20-minute sessions based on STC career interest surveys they took prior to the event. Guidance counselors encouraged students to share their impressions in a feedback survey on the following Monday.

What did students think?

Several students later discussed what they learned, what they liked, and how it is shaping their futures.

Allana Proulx (10):  “It was fun. I liked the firefighting session. I had wanted to do nursing, but now I’m in the middle.”

Morgan Grescheck (11):  “I think it was beneficial for people who wanted to explore different career paths. I liked the health services because it was a more hands-on presentation. It doesn’t change my thoughts about the future, but it makes me more open-minded about how I want my future to be.”

classroom looking at robotic cart

Props were a big thing, especially this robot.

Marek Bush (10): “It was interesting; I liked hearing about it from a first source. I liked human sciences and physical therapy.”

Kolby Fical (12): “It was kind of eye opening to actually hear about it from an actual person who does the job everyday instead of just reading about it. They gave us a lot of different perspectives. It was different from how I expected it to be. It definitely changed my opinion on things.”

Austin Tubia (8): “I like the way they had it organized. You had a chance to see something new. Specifically, I really liked the Indium Corporation when they were speaking about there being so many opportunities that you can go for and they highlight all of them. I didn’t know where I was headed. I’m still looking because none of them stood out to me, but they definitely gave me ideas.”

Morgan Herringshaw (8): “I liked how some people used objects they use in the workforce. Someone had toys they use with little kids. I enjoyed this one girl who counsels elementary students. That really interests me because I like helping people.”

Annamarie Lyman (7): “I thought it was a very great learning opportunity and it could help me decide a career path. I really liked the IT presentation. I am interested in becoming an engineer and this was a great opportunity to learn about this career choice.”

Christopher Newtown (7): “I wanted to do sports because the athletic department at Accelerated Sport has all different kinds of sports you can work with like baseball or football. And I’m going more toward sports than my original career of going into the military.”

man holding tray filled with jars

Jim McCoy, Talent Acquisition Coordinator of Indium Corporation, opens students eyes to the range of careers in high tech development and manufacturing

Each session reflected one of 16 nationally recognized career clusters—groupings of occupations and broad industries based shared features. These include:

  • Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
  • Architecture & Construction
  • Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Education & Training
  • Finance
  • Government & Public Administration
  • Health Science
  • Hospitality & Tourism
  • Human Services
  • Information Technology
  • Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
  • Transportation, Distribution & Logistics

Never too early to start looking ahead

When people have a goal, they make choices that take them toward that goal. That is especially true for students. The courses they choose, attendance, school behavior, and the effort they invest can open or close doors in their futures.

The problem is that students have a hard time connecting what they do today in school to their futures. (Think of the adults who look back on their school years and say, “I wish I had known!”)

Career Day helps students see that even what they do in middle school and high school can affect college and career options. This is especially important now that New York state has embraced Pathways to Graduation. No longer must every student take the same core classes to earn a high school diploma. Students can pursue a track that prepares them for entry-level employment (SDOS), technical careers (CTE), ongoing education (Regents and Advanced Regents), or the Arts. Language other than English (LOTE) will soon become another option. Career Day gives students more information to decide which path is best for them.