Empowering Young Women with Career Discovery

On February 10, area 8th, 9th and 10th grade female students, selected by their school districts, had the chance to participate in a mini career expo to discover pathways in Career and Technical Education (CTE) at the F. Donald Myers Education Center.

Whether it was learning to put air in a tire in automotive technology, using a virtual welder, hammering nails on a shed, or trying out heavy equipment operation, female students had fun with hands-on activities.

WSWHE BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Turina Parker who kicked off the event, told students, “we want to provide opportunities that challenge you and build your confidence.”

“Each of you are our future,” said Kate Lott, the service manager at Saratoga Honda.

She added, “your curiosity is the first step in breaking down barriers.”

Other employers from The Fort Millers Group, DA Collins and Cifone Construction told the students that the trades have so much to offer. They can travel or work close to home.

Alex Wagner, a carpenter for Cifone Construction, encouraged the students to take advantage of internships offered by the CTE program. She said that while she has a bachelor's degree, her BOCES education is what has helped her advance in the construction industry.

“I have made so much money on my certifications,” said Cifone.

CTE Grad Ariel Finn who completed the heavy equipment program a few years ago and is currently working at DA Collins also gave an impromptu presentation.

In the HVAC classroom, Luke Rupp of Saratoga Springs CSD told students about his internship  at Saratoga Hospital in the HVAC department. He said, “after your internship, you are guaranteed a good paying job.” 

Rupp told them that the program is always getting calls from employers looking to fill positions.

Regionally, 1.2% of automotive technicians and carpenters are women. Yet both industries' entry level hourly wage is above the Regional Living Wage Floor according to the Workforce Development Institute. With more experience individuals can earn $38-40 per hour, with no college degree required. Female HVAC technicians in our area comprise less than 1% of the industry. 

“There are opportunities for learning and careers in these industries that WSWHE BOCES aims to help women realize are out there,” said Nancy DeStefano, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Programs.

To learn more about the Women in Trades Initiative, visit CareerAndTechEd.org or click here.


In photo: Construction trades students with group from Stillwater CSD.


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