“The Capital Region Workforce Development Coalition looks to support school counselors by providing them with nformation and resources about non traditional post secondary options as well as lucrative opportunities within the trades and the multiple pathways to get there,” said Doug Ford, the regional vice president of sales at Curtis Lumber Co. and chairman of the coalition.
“This was our first workshop of what we hope to be many more in the future," added Ford.
Recognizing the labor shortage to fill construction jobs and that young people were not going into the trades, Curtis Lumber, in conjunction with the Saratoga Builders Association, formed the Capital Region Workforce Development Coalition. Their mission is to encourage people to consider a career in the construction industry by bringing an awareness to the benefits associated with it. The coalition started out with a focus in Saratoga County and has now grown into a multi-county effort with over 40 professionals from a wide range of businesses and organizations with a passion for raising awareness about the trades.
“Counselors have a tremendous workload and we as an industry have the responsibility to provide counselors the information about the misconceptions about the trades and lack of information that exists today so that students and families can make informed decisions,” said Ford.
Jaymes White an assistant principal at Tamarac Secondary and former school counselor also serves on the Executive Board of the NYSSCA as a Regional Governor. White is responsible for coordinating professional development for counselors in eleven counties, including Washington, Saratoga, Warren, Albany, Schenectady, and Rensselaer counties.
"Counselors are always willing to learn and go above and beyond to do what is best for their students," said White. “I am excited to be bringing these groups together. Having counselors learning about non-traditional post secondary options such as internships, job shadowing, and site visits can only improve opportunities for students.”
A study conducted by Stanley Black & Decker during August to September 2021, found that among 801 high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors interviewed, 85% of them saw trades as a good career choice, but only 16% were likely to consider it for themselves. According to the study, several inhibiting factors include a lack of education about trade skills, particularly the financial stability they provide, incorrect knowledge of required skills, and lack of exposure to individuals currently in trades professions.
“We are always focused on workforce development,” said WSWHE BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Programs, Nancy DeStefano.
“Having our business partners work with area school counselors is another step in narrowing the skills gap,” added DeStefano.
The afternoon consisted of numerous testimonials as well as introduction to a guidebook that counselors can use in the future. Also in attendance were Assemblymembers Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake) and Mary Beth Walsh (R-Ballston), lending their support.
For more photos of the event, visit the WSWHE BOCES Facebook Page.
Click here for media coverage from the Saratogian newspaper.