April 20, 2015
MEXICO - Oswego County Workforce New York recently held its first Training and Careers Expo for area high school students at the CiTi campus in Mexico. Juniors and seniors from the Altmar-Parish-Williamstown, Phoenix, and Pulaski school districts participated in the half-day program along with students from the CiTi School (formerly Oswego County BOCES).
The Expo was organized to familiarize students with job opportunities currently available in the county as well as the background and training required to qualify for these jobs and where they can go to receive this training.
"This event is a valuable tool to demonstrate local career potential for the next generation of our workforce," said Christine Weaver, coordinator of client services at the Oswego County Workforce New York One Stop Center. "We've heard so much about the lack of jobs in Oswego County, yet here we have several employers talking about having good-paying jobs and job training available locally. Students came in not knowing what career opportunities were available to them and left with new hope for their future."
Nearly two dozen local employers and trainers participated in the event. They included Cayuga Community College, Central New York Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee, CiTi, Dynegy, Inc. (Independence Power Station), Entergy, Exelon, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, National Electrical Contractors Association, New York State Department of Labor, Novelis, Oswego County Workforce New York,Rehab Resources, and United Association Plumber's and Pipefitter's Local Union No.73.
"We wanted to find a way to bring local employers together with potential job candidates," said Chad Whelsky, employment specialist, Oswego County Workforce New York. "Representatives from companies in a variety of fields came out to meet these students and make them aware of the opportunities they currently have available as well as salary, training, and career progression and the application process itself." The employers and representatives came from diverse fields such as energy, health and manufacturing,as well as apprenticeships, training, and unions. M.C. King, managing director of Dynegy, Independence Station, said, "These companies all offer good jobs, benefits, and compensation that allow people to afford a home and take care of their families; as well as competitive retirement packages that make early retirement possible. In fact, most employees, once they get a foot in the door, never leave because of the great work environment these employers have to offer. Training, coaching, mentoring, and tuition assistance are all available to aid employees in personal and professional development, promotion, and cross-departmental opportunities."
Having a polished resume and great references were also a common theme throughout the program as several presenters discussed the importance of each. Joseph Reitz from the Novelis plant in Oswego said, "In a fast-paced and growing environment like ours, we are looking for people with a high work ethic and a determination to learn and do their very best. Since most students don't have a lot of job experience, they need to focus on developing their skills and establishing great references." King added, "These things become so much more important for us to look at when considering a candidate without a lot of experience. Their skills, personality and attitude all play a part of the hiring process. Basically, a good resume and references get you into the interview and the interview gets you the job." Representatives also addressed age requirements, academic courses and focus, on-the-job training, tuition and employee agreements, incentive and youth employment programs, and resume and interview workshops, along with describing the need for trades craftsmen and the value of helping people in the healthcare field. At the close of the Expo, students were asked to do just one thing: to help spread the word about the career potential in their community by sharing the information they learned with their friends and peers.
This is something senior Ben Frymoyer is sure to do. A testament to the success of this event, Frymoyer is a student in the Outdoor Power Equipment course at CiTi. He will continue his education this fall at Ohio Technical College where he will major in Diesel Equipment Technology. He will also add Generator Power Systems courses into his curriculum to make himself more marketable to local employers.
According to his instructor Dan Shaver, "Ben is a good student and the Expo gave him the opportunity to talk to a representative from Dynegy Independence Station; an employer who is very interested in discussing his career opportunities after graduation." Whelsky added, "This is an example of why we felt it was important to hold this event, to help students develop a career plan based on direction from companies who hire people with specific skills. Ben's future now looks brighter because he connected with a local employer who will need workers with his skills."
For more information about training and job opportunities in Oswego County, contact Oswego County Workforce New York at 591-9000 or 963-5512.
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