Bethpage Promotes Career Readiness Through BOCES Partnership

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Members of the Bethpage School District community gathered at the Nov. 26 board of education meeting to discuss the importance of career readiness and hear from Bethpage students partaking in BOCES vocational programs. Students in grades 11 and 12 are able to spend half their day at Bethpage High School and the other half at one of three vocational centers: Barry Tech, Long Island High School for the Arts, or Gerald R. Claps Career & Technical Center. 
Thomas Kenny, director of guidance for grades K-12, spoke on the importance of career readiness at every level and students’ capability of choosing their career path based on individual interests and abilities. “The goal is to find students an umbrella or cluster of career interests and skills,” said Kenny. 

Nationally, 77% of high school students are thinking about their careers but only 17% cite their high school experiences as factors on career thinking. BHS has seen an increase in students participating in vocational programs each year since 2015 and believes in promoting awareness at the elementary, middle and high school levels.

BOCES programs are all taught by individuals who have worked or specialized in their specified coursework. Whether they choose to pursue a career in their vocational program area or not, the work habits, responsible behaviors and decision-making skills students learn will prepare them for the workforce.  

Current high school students were in attendance to speak on their experience in various BOCES vocational programs. They were: Melissa Diers, Long Island School for the Arts; Alex Dupre and Ciara McGlynn, veterinary science; George Hambrock, physical therapy aide; Bridget Michie, nurse assisting; and Ramon Polanco, exercise science and personal training, 
Each of them stressed how prepared they feel for their careers thanks to the BOCES programs, reiterating how valuable it is to be able to learn in a workforce-like environment outside school halls. “BOCES is a great way to really get out there and see what you want to do,” said Alex Dupre. 

As a testament to the BOCES program and the success which students can attain, BHS Class of 2014 graduate Nick Panella spoke on his experience. Now an NYPD officer in Queens, Panella completed the criminal justice and political science BOCES program during his junior and senior years. He credits BOCES with his success and ability to find a career he could excel in. 

Mike Spence, assistant superintendent for instruction, further stressed the impact on students who choose to invest in their futures by participating in BOCES programs. 

“They gave something a shot because they were intrigued by it, and that has altered who they will now become and where they’re going to go,” said Spence. “I think that’s a powerful thing about this. These programs can change how they look at their lives and future.”