Strictly Business recently met via Zoom with Michele Friedman, Director of Career and Technical Education, CV-TEC Division for Champlain Valley Educational Services (CVES). CV-TEC, one of 37 Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) that operates in New York State, provides shared educational programs to school districts and adult learners. The North Country’s CV-TEC offers programs on four campuses: three in Clinton County (Plattsburgh Main, Plattsburgh Aeronautical Satellite and OneWork Source) and one in Essex County (Mineville).
Although the pandemic has challenged CV-TEC and its partner districts in many ways, one thing rang true in my interview with Friedman. “It has never been more clear that our students and our programs are essential to the North Country than it has been during this year,” she emphasized. “I am grateful that my staff has had some time to separate themselves from all of this but we, as administrators, haven’t stepped away. We have been here working on plans for classes to resume this fall. We are excited as we go forward and are committed to operating with an abundance of caution, because the safety of our students is of utmost importance to us. There is no place better than the North Country to handle what it will take to successful reopen our schools and implement remote learning.”
As classes resume in September, CV-TEC will provide Career and Technical Education that will prepare students for success in careers and life-long learning including post-secondary education. It will follow state and district protocols and, at the same time, educate students on how the pandemic has affected their industry/ area of study and the standards they will be expected to meet depending on their trade. According to Friedman, “We currently have 300 partner agencies for training and job shadowing.”
My interview with Friedman focused on the Adult and Continuing Education opportunities under the Champlain Valley Educational Services umbrella. While CVES has an established an extended course catalogue, it continues to innovate. “We want to make sure there is a strong pool of educated potential employees that can transition to the workforce seamlessly,” she emphasized.
HEALTHCARE, MANUFACTURING AND BEYOND
CVES offers a portal into the working world of health care occupations. High school students and adult learners can learn skills used across the industry in a wide variety of occupations. Lab practice, job shadowing and clinical experiences are an integral part of the program. Specialties include Nurse Assistant, Certified EKG Technician and Phlebotomy Technician. Courses cover all requisite instruction and clinical hours and give students the opportunity to submit for New York State Certification.
College bound high school students who are interested in careers in the medical field are able to apply to be a part of CV-TEC’s New Visons: Medical Careers. It is a competitive program that accepts about a dozen seniors and gives them exposure in area hospitals that allows them to learn what the medical field is really about by working alongside professionals.
In addition, CV-TEC offers programs aimed at specific workforce opportunities such as its Tractor Trailer Driving, a 60-hour course that provides instruction in safe vehicle operation and inspections. Upon completing the Commercial Driver License (CDL) Class A program students are eligible for the DMV testing and NYS licensure.
Instruction is also available for a variety of entry level trade skills: welding, basic electric, heavy equipment operation, carpentry, and more. Industrial offerings include cosmetology, AutoCAD, as well as digital art and design.
According to Friedman, the driving force behind CV-TEC’s courses is its accomplished educators, some of whom have earned national recognition. Tom Aubin, a 33-year veteran welding teacher, was recently selected as one of 50 Career Technical Education teachers in a national competition hosted by Harbor Freight’s Tools for Schools initiative. “We are so proud that Team CV-TEC has such an accomplished welding teacher as Mr. Aubin,” she observed. “He has prepared and inspired numerous welding students during his years of service!”
This year, CV-TEC is expanding its New Visons program and is proud to debut its New Visions: Applied Engineering, a competitive application-based program for high school seniors planning to major in engineering. The academic curriculum will be combined with practical, applied work experience as students engage in STEM concepts at the Institute of Advanced Manufacturing (IAM) at Clinton Community College and through clinical observations with business and industry partners in the field. Friedman is enthusiastic about the initiative. “We are thrilled to offer this program to satisfy the needs of our community along with aligning our programming to what we’re finding a large population of our high school students are aspiring to study.”
In keeping with its mission statement “To prepare students for success in careers and life-long learning including post-secondary education” – CV-TEC operates with a desire to support the workforce pipeline and, here in the North Country, that means manufacturing. To that end earlier this year the school launched its Women in Manufacturing program, a 128-hour course designed to provide women with the necessary training and skills to obtain the high paying manufacturing jobs that offer room for advancement. While COVID dampened the program’s launch to a degree, it certainly didn’t extinguish the interest on the part of area employers. “Our partners in industry are constantly looking to us for a rich, diverse hiring pool,” Friedman explained. “Our graduates have proven that they can transition seamlessly to the workplace. We give them hands on experience and work-based learning opportunities. We are proud of our ability to train and sustain talent right here in the North Country.”
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