During a recent ceremony, the Southampton Business Alliance (SBA) awarded a scholarship of $5,565.00 to the Hampton Bays Education Foundation to cover the out-of-pocket costs of students wishing to take classes at the Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology. The Academy is the Career and Technical Education Program of Eastern Suffolk BOCES (ESBOCES) and has schools in Bellport, Oakdale, and Riverhead.
Programs at the Academy are designed to prepare students to be ready to work. This may mean they need to purchase uniforms or tools to best do their jobs. Out-of-pocket costs can range from $30-$500 depending on the program. For courses that require specialized tools such as Automotive Technician or Carpentry, the expense of tools and safety equipment can be cost-prohibitive for some students.
The scholarship will benefit both students looking to further their education, and the South Fork economy, which relies on an educated workforce to continue growing. “When I work with business owners in Southampton, we always come to one conclusion – we need help regarding our workforce,” said Sheryl Heather, executive director of the SBA. “Ensuring we have an educated workforce that can help us in construction, plumbing, and other trades means our community can keep thriving. This is the best way to donate our money – in our opinion.”
In the past, the SBA has sponsored scholarships to students pursuing business degrees at a traditional four-year college, and those pursuing a trade at a two-year school. This is the first time the SBA has sponsored students entering career and technical programs in high school.
The ceremony highlighted one student who will benefit from the scholarship, Thomas Fassino, a current sophomore at Hampton Bays High School who is pursuing Carpentry at the Academy next year.
“We love that our students keep coming to the Academy ready to work,” said Leah Arnold, director for Career and Technical Education at ESBOCES. “We are so excited that this will help students to keep coming to our programs ready to learn, ready to work, and ready to succeed.”
Left to right: Joseph Mammina, board member for the Southampton Business Alliance, Sheryl Heather, executive director of the Southampton Business Alliance, Thomas Fassino, Hampton Bays student, Christopher Richardt, Hampton Bays High School principal, and Leah Arnold, ESBOCES director of Career and Technical Education.