By Deb Everts

The Ellicottville Career and Technical Education Center on April 18 hosted Class to Careers Day with tours for eighth grade students during school hours. Later in the afternoon, an open house was held for students, parents and businesses. A business reception was held in the evening.

Terry Fuller, work-based learning coordinator, works with the teachers, students and businesses setting up internships for students attending the tech center. He said a number of businesses were present in the classrooms during the student tours.

“Each one of the instructors contacted a business to come into their classroom and do a presentation to the class and the eight graders,” he said. “So, when the eighth graders toured, there were stations set up in each classroom with a quick interactive activity of some type. The businesses were also available to talk to the eighth graders as well as our students.”

Fuller said each eighth grade tour group had seven to eight students in it and they were allowed to spend 8 to 10 minutes in each class, where they could go and have a quick interaction and be able to ask questions of students, the teacher or the business before moving on to the next class. This gave them an overview of what each class is about.

According to Fuller, this was a new event for the Ellicottville center, but the Belmont center hosted a similar event in February and Olean held one in March. He said it was the first time the parents, students and businesses have all come together for an event like this at Ellicottville.

Fuller said the Class to Careers event came about when the Olean Career and Technical Education Center partnered with the Olean Chamber of Commerce this year and invited them to have their monthly meeting at the Olean center, where they had tours and an open house. He said the Ellicottville and Belmont centers piggybacked off of that idea.

“Through a faculty meeting, I had each one of the teachers select two businesses they wanted me to contact and invite to the Business After Hours Reception and the teachers contacted a business to come in during the day to be present in the classroom during the eighth grade tours,” he said.

Fuller said the goal was to coordinate getting businesses into the center to see what it has to offer. He said the business reception gave the businesses the opportunity to collaborate with not only the teachers and administration, but to also answer the questions of parents and students.

“This gives them the chance to take a look at what we have to offer, what the industries are looking for and to see we’re up to industry standard,” he said. “Later, during the reception, we discussed the internship program and process, and the possible opportunities in our region.”

According to Fuller, the tech centers are doing their best to get out into the community and into the business community even more to promote the internships. They are expanding their connections with the business community to increase internship opportunities for the students, and it has been successful.

“We’ve gotten more kids out on internships this year than we’ve had in the past. Hopefully, that will continue and be on the upswing,” he said.

Fuller said the internships benefit businesses as well. It’s a “win-win” situation and that’s kind of how he markets it to the businesses when he presents it to them. He said businesses have the opportunity to have a student come in and intern. If they like what they see and the student is learning, has the skills and the work ethic they’re looking for, then the business has a potential employee. The business is also gaining an intern or employee that has learned the latest technology and skills.

“The student gets to go to a business where they think they’re interested in that career and they see whether they really like it, or not,” he said. “That can help steer them toward whatever they’re doing college-wise or career-wise.”

Guidance Counselor Vince Oliverio said out of the center’s 10 component school districts, Ellicottville, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Randolph and Franklinville central schools participated. He said a total of 200 eighth graders attended the event and had the opportunity to visit many of the classes offered at the center including Animal Science, Automotive Technology, Carpentry and Construction Trades, Collision Repair and Auto Body Technology, Cosmetology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Heavy Equipment Operations, Medical Assisting, Natural Resources, Power Equipment Technology, and Welding and Metal Fabrication. The center also offers a number of high-tech classes that can be seen in the course catalog.

If anyone would like to know more about the programs and internships offered at the Ellicottville, Olean and Belmont career and technical education centers, they should call Fuller at 376-8346 or visit online at