SWBOCES Class & Career Expo Highlights Need for Skilled Workers in Local Region

On Saturday, March 25th, over a dozen local employers welcomed a range of different job seekers to a Class & Career Expo hosted by the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Adult & Community Services.

The half-day event, held at the BOCES Center for Career Services, was intended to draw attention to the plethora of job opportunities available in the trades and in manufacturing throughout the local area.   

The Expo is an example of the community service, outreach and support provided through the Center, explained Supervisor of Adult Education Will Guterman. 

“In this case, SWBOCES supports local business by providing training in needed skills and then by facilitating the employment of its skilled graduates,” he said.

According to a June 2016 report from the New York State Dept. of Labor Division of Research & Statistics, the total skilled trades job count in New York is expected to grow by 17 percent from 2014 to 2024.

Examples of such jobs include air conditioning and refrigeration mechanics, carpenters, electricians, industrial machinery mechanics, plumbing professionals and more.  

The Expo included a number of businesses and vendors. Some of them included Maureen Jacobson of Candela Systems Corporation in Hawthorne.

The company, which is seeking electricians and light installers to work on a number of high end projects, is in the business of installing energy-efficient commercial and industrial lighting systems.

Projects include parking lot lighting systems, office lighting, retail lighting and general commercial lighting work.

Prospective job candidates should be proficient in lighting, but the company is also willing to “skill them up,” explained Ms. Jacobson, referring to the in-house training programs that Candela Systems provides its workers.

Matthew Neri of Blindtek Designer Systems in Elmsford said the demand for qualified workers is high.

The company is a well respected national fabricator of shading systems that collaborates with high end interior designers, architects, home automation companies, drapery workrooms and in-demand general contractors.

The kind of candidate he was hoping to meet at the Expo includes those who demonstrate electrical knowledge, but more importantly, who are open-minded and willing to learn.

“We are mostly looking for a blank canvas,” said Mr. Neri, referring to the company’s need for installers.

“If you show the ability to work hard and have the skills and the drive, that will dictate how well you do in this company,” he added.  

John Danko, the owner of Metro-Aire Heating-Cooling in Peekskill, has frequently relied on BOCES to fill his employment needs. Mr. Danko, a graduate of the BOCES Electrical Training Program, has employees on his current workforce that were hired twenty years ago from a pool of BOCES HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) graduates.

Mr. Danko reiterated the need for workers with a specific skill set, but also his desire to hire younger skilled workers.

 “I’m essentially looking for people who can become part of a team,” he said.

Jonathan Reingold, a recent SUNY Purchase liberal arts graduate, was glad he stopped by the Expo. Unable to find steady employment, Mr. Reingold said he was looking for something with a little more stability instead of the odd jobs he’s been getting as a painter and construction worker.

“I wanted to see what employers were looking for and also to see if I needed to take an adult education class at BOCES,” he said. The Rye Neck High School graduate said he was confident in the connections he made and was hopeful that a job might come out of it.

Information on the Center’s many courses was also available, including pamphlets on its air conditioning courses, automotive service technician classes, cosmetology, medical office management, teaching assistant and test preparation classes, and more. 

Resume writing workshops were also offered prior to the Expo.

Mr. Guterman said the Center frequently receives inquiries from local employers looking to hire and enhance their workforce. These calls are then fielded and emails go out to the many BOCES graduates who may benefit from such employment opportunities, while also helping businesses in need.  In addition, a job board includes postings for local positions in a number of fields.

For more information on the training provided by the Center, call 914-592-0849 or visit its website at http://adulted.swboces.org/.    .