Cummins Holds First ‘High School Hiring Event’

LAKEWOOD — On Wednesday, four area high school seniors signed on for successful futures in local industry. The members of the Class of 2019 visited Cummins Inc. for the company’s first-ever High School Hiring Event. As the students donned Cummins hats and sat down to sign employment offers, they were surrounded by parents, school officials and company representatives.

“It’s pretty amazing,” said Michael Bird, a Falconer Central School student who will graduate from the Conservation/Natural Resource Management program at the Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES (E2CCB) Hewes Educational Center in Ashville. “I know there’s a lot of people that tried to sign up for this. It’s really quite an honor for being one of the few people that did get accepted for it.”

During the ceremony, Cummins Director of Operations Lori Kooken noted the different traits they were looking for in potential employees. Academic readiness, good attendance, discipline, community service, critical thinking skills and interest in technical fields were considered.

“Right now, I have a job, so I know how to work with customers,” said Tyler Fuller, who takes technology classes at Randolph Central School. “Communication, knowing how to problem-solve, working with other people.”

Cummins representatives shared stories of employees who worked their way through the ranks at the company. The hope is their new employees will take advantage of advancement opportunities and tuition assistance.

Students, pictured from left, are Hunter Edwards (Cassadaga Valley Central School), Tyler Fuller (Randolph Central School), Michael Bird (Falconer Central School and Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES) and Benjamin Szymanowski (Chautauqua Lake Central School and Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES). Submitted photo

“Our business depends on finding good, quality people. We now have a dwindling pool because of an aging population,” said Lori Jafarjian, Cummins human resources manager . “We’re really happy that our school districts in the area, especially BOCES, have stepped up and are willing to partner with us as an employer. We hope to see more employers get engaged like this, and we hope more school districts will think that this is valuable.”

The last student to sign summed up the experience at the conclusion of the ceremony. “It’s pretty exciting. You can’t really say no,” said Benjamin Szymanowski, a Ripley student who is enrolled in Chautauqua Lake Central School and will graduate from the E2CCB Conservation/Natural Resource Management program. “You put a foot in the door and start out your life.”

The E2CCB Career & Technical Education (CTE) Program works to align skills and curriculum with industry needs and workforce demands. There are 37,313 high school students enrolled in CTE across New York state. Currently, 40 percent of all jobs in the workforce do not require a four-year degree.

“I really find that the quality of the students coming out of the BOCES CTE programs aligns with what we’re looking for,” Jafarjian said.

For more information about the opportunities available for high school students through Career & Technical Education, contact E2CCB Counselor Leighton Swanson at 763-1801 ext. 3004.