Career Conference Attracts Over 1,700 Students from Region's High Schools

Career Conference Attracts Over 1,700 Students from Region's Schools

Over 1,700 students from schools across our region attended the SWBOCES Center for Career Services Career Conference Nov. 17, where students got to hear from a number of professionals in the areas of accounting, architecture & interior design, construction, dental, electronics, engineering, law, medical technology, nursing, radio/TV and more.

The annual event is intended to give high school juniors an in-depth look at the types of careers they might want to pursue in the future. The half-day initiative was provided in two separate sessions, with students going to various rooms across the Valhalla campus to learn about the different careers.

The message from many of the professionals was to choose a career you love.

“You should do something as a career that you really enjoy,” said Desi Colon, a professor in the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management Program at Westchester Community College. Mr. Colon told the students that he has been 40 years in the industry and that the time has gone by quickly because he enjoyed it.

“Do something that you really have a passion for. Then it becomes easy,” he added.

Author Vincent Dacquino agreed. “If you want to find a suitable profession, you have to find you,” he told students interested in pursuing writing as a career. “Who are you, what makes you tick, what excites you, what scares you, what annoys you?”

Other professionals urged students to have an open mind about their career choices.

Meghan Moore-Wilk, director of space planning at the City University of New York, told students sitting in Christine Ireland’s Architecture/Interior Design/3D Art classroom that even though she is not an artist or an architect, she still has been able to make a career out of planning space for 24 campuses within the CUNY system.

Ms. Moore-Wilk regularly works with architects and engineers to create more flexible, technology-friendly space for students in many of the city’s public colleges.

Either working for a corporation or going into the space planning field as a consultant, Ms. Moore-Wilk said it was a worthwhile career to consider.

Still, others provided the direct benefits that come with certain professions. Speaking to students in Ray Sulla’s Security, Law and Policing classroom, Greenburgh Police Department Sergeant Martin Greenberg told students about the 24-hour shifts that police officers typically work and the time off that comes with that.

He also spoke about the security of such a civil service position, as well as its pay and health benefits. 

“We’re well protected,” said Sgt. Greenberg. “Unless I truly, truly, truly screw up, and there’s intent to screw up, my job is very safe.”

Students interested in going into the automotive industry were also reminded of the job security that comes with being an auto mechanic because of the demand for qualified workers. Peter Schwartzott, who teaches in the Automotive Technician Program, said there is a great need for certified mechanics.

Students who enroll in the BOCES program have the opportunity to receive college incentives and paid summer internships, in addition to being eligible to earn the Automotive Service Excellence certification.

Engineer Thomas Juell told students sitting in Leticia Noce’s Pre-Engineering classroom to spend some time thinking about their future. Enrolling in a two-year associate’s degree program before committing to four years of study in a particular discipline is a good idea, he said.

More importantly, he added, it’s the attitude that workers display on the job that will be of most benefit to them.

“One of the first things an employer wants you to do is show up,” he said.