ASHVILLE - The Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES Hewes Education Center has launched a new program focused on helping alternative education students transition into the workforce. Local Chautauqua County businesses Artone Manufacturing Company Inc. and Premier Lakewood Inc. have teamed with BOCES to provide on-site tours of their facilities, interview role-playing, and general question-and -answer sessions to familiarize the students with their industry-leading companies located in Western New York.
"This program gives students opportunities that allow them to apply their classroom knowledge outside of a traditional school setting," said Adam Padd, Hewes Educational Center alternative and special education supervisor. "The experience they get by visiting actual worksites helps them align their skills and interests for potential employment with successful companies in their own backyard."
Over the course of two separate field trips, students met with managers and floor workers at Artone and Premier Lakewood to gain an understanding of how their operations work, the education requirements of specific job functions, and how all departments come together to form the businesses. Positions explored included product design, product manufacturing, equipment, and building maintenance and quality control.
Students chosen to participate in this new program have achieved a high level of academic and behavioral success within a classroom setting and are ready to investigate the many local opportunities to prepare them for life after graduation.
"This experience really resonated with our students," Hewes Center School Counselor Alycia Lacki said. "They really made the connection of how important their education is now and how it is applied in the real world."
Jonathan Martin, a member of the Class of 2014 said, "I have never been so nervous when I did my job interview, but that was a really great experience for me."
Corey Caron, also a member of the Class of 2014 added, "I really realize how important school is, especially my math class is to me now."
"We are excited to offer these types of opportunities for our students," Lacki said. "This new program along with the well-established transition program here at Hewes is giving students the tools they need to help prepare them for their futures."
"We are excited to be working closely with BOCES and giving back to the community by letting students know about the career possibilities available in their home towns," said Bob Nordin at Artone Manufacturing Company Inc. Ron Saxton at Premier Lakewood agreed, adding, "The skills students are learning at BOCES will help them succeed in their working lives when they complete school, and we are proud to expand their horizons by showing them what we do and what they are also capable of doing."
Padd and his staff plan on expanding the job shadow program through continued field experiences and in-class activities with more students as they become ready. Second semester, two locally owned companies, Lakeshore Paving and Wing City Grille, have agreed to partner with Hewes Alternative Education to expand the job shadow program which they're really excited about.
"Working closely with local companies is making this program go," Padd said. "The willingness of businesses like Artone and Premier Lakewood to participate in our outreach is invaluable to the future success of all students at the Hewes Center. We cannot thank them enough for their support."
For more information on Alternative Education programs available at Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES locations, please visit: www.e2ccb.org.