Hands-On Learning can Lead to Regents Diploma

By Alicia Yeager

A hardy education is essential in achieving a successful career and reaching the American Dream. In this area, professional jobs are limited and making sure children are being provided with the ultimate education in fields where workers are needed is key.

BOCES, a career and technical school, with many locations (including Ellicottville, which has been around since 1971), is offered to those at both the high school and college levels, and is a great choice for awarding yourself, or your children, with better opportunities.

The program, which offers education, knowledge and real life experience in the fields of health science, manufacturing, finance, agriculture and much more, is as the BOCES saying goes, “learning that works for America.” The CTE program (Career and Technical Education) annually offers around 440 Ellicottville students who graduate the course a technical endorsement on their high school diplomas and opportunity for special articulation agreements with colleges and universities within each CTE program.

The program offers students with study in ELA, math, and science to ready them for successful business and industry jobs. Upon graduating with the elite skills they will learn through BOCES, students will have broad opportunities to further their schooling at the post-secondary level, or to enter directly into their field of choice and begin their technical career.

The program offers a number of courses, including Animal Science, Automotive Technology, Audio and Visual Production, Building Technology, Computer Systems Technology, Cosmetology, Welding, Health Professions, Culinary Arts, Criminal Justice, and Early Childhood Development, among others.

At BOCES, the staff ensures that students receive the best education and experience as possible. Vince Oliverio, the counselor at the Ellicottville BOCES, helps to make sure that students are involved with the best possible activities for their CTE experience.

“I frequently send out pictures and brief articles of some of the interesting and unique projects that our students are involved in,” Oliverio said of his work in the program.

“What makes [BOCES in Ellicottville] great is the faculty. And I’m not just saying that,” Oliverio said. “We have a really good community here.”

The curriculum offered through the CTE program is assessed against national industry standards and meets New York State learning standards. The Career and Technical Education programs offered through BOCES are offered under the New York State Education Department and satisfy a number of high school requirements needed to achieve a Regents High Diploma. This means that students in the BOCES programs will achieve many of their credits through the hands-on environment of BOCES rather than in a classroom.

“Kids can come [to BOCES] and learn what they can’t in high school and still earn their Regents Diploma,” Oliverio said of the unique opportunity of the program.

Students within the CTE program are given the chance to participate in internships during or after completion of the BOCES requirements, and are also given the opportunity to become certified or licensed in the industry of their choice, giving them an advantage in the high demand and ever-growing technical career fields.

Some students who go through BOCES CTE programs can become both locally ranked and certified, as well as nationally ranked and certified, Oliverio explained. Students can also receive college credits or articulation to many SUNY and state colleges.

All career studies offered at BOCES are in valuable, much-needed careers in places both local and afar.