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Summer Career Programs Allow Teens to Test New Waters

Two Programs Provide Early Career Exploration

culinary student mixes while classmate watches  cosmetology students dries hair on mannequin head

This July, ESBOCES ran two programs for teens and young adults to provide them with the opportunity to conduct hands-on career exploration. The programs were based in the three ESBOCES technical centers in Bellport, Oakdale, and Riverhead.

auto student changes tire  student practices animal CPR on a dummy

The Summer Career Exploration Program allowed students ages 13-15 to spend three weeks immersed in an introductory course of their choosing – Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Welding, Carpentry, Dog Care or Automotive. They met four days a week, for half a day, from July 11 to 28, to study with ESBOCES teachers who are all experienced industry professionals.

For example, Cosmetology students learned the basics of hair and nail care and hosted a spa day to provide services for friends and relatives. Welding students fabricated their own personal-sized outdoor grills, the Carpentry class built cedar deck planters and bird houses, and Automotive students practiced oil changes, fixing and changing tires, using power tools, and more.

The Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) Program is designed for special-needs students ages 14-21. Students were exposed to careers in Animal Science, Automotive, Healthcare, and Culinary Arts, in addition to receiving job exploration counseling, instruction in self-advocacy, workplace readiness training, and information on post-secondary options. Students rotated between each career program every few days, learning the basics of cooking and baking, animal care, and the necessary skills to work as a certified medical assistant.

The Pre-ETS Program is in its second year and is funded by a five-year grant from the NYS Education Department’s Access-VR Program, which assists individuals with disabilities in achieving and maintaining employment and independent living. Sessions ran Monday through Thursday, from July 11 to 21, from 8:30 am to 12 pm.

Said Erin Selleck, assistant administrative coordinator for both programs, “Getting young students to think seriously about the career paths they may want to pursue through these engaging, hands-on programs is important. These experiences can provide the direction they need to pursue a high school CTE program, a college major, or even Adult Education courses. Additionally, the career counselling is essential for students with special needs as they learn to advocate for themselves.”