Capital Region sees increasing student interest in trade jobs

June 06, 2019 07:31 PM

ALBANY - Let's face it: college is costly, and there's no guarantee you'll get a job or earn enough to pay back your student loans. Couple that with the national skilled labor shortage and it's not hard to understand why trade school enrollment numbers are up.

Officials with Capital Region BOCES have seen a steady rise in the number of applications submitted each year. Senior Executive Officer Joseph Dragone said this year they got 1,300 total, more than in 2017-2018.


Dragone said there’s also a great need for skilled laborers in the Capital Region specifically, which has led to more student interest.

"We have a waiting list for many of our construction programs," Dragone said. "Welding has grown, electrical has grown, HVAC continues to grow, we always have a waiting list for our video game design programs. We have a new engineering technology program which is expanding. We have a new sterile processing program."

Capital Region BOCES offers over 40 courses in nine different areas of study, like construction, transportation, and manufacturing. He said 70 percent of students who complete their one or two-year programs go on to get their associate's degree, enter a trade school, or begin working right away.

Seniors Jared Heidinger and Jared Strokes have already landed jobs before graduation. They said everyone should seriously consider pursuing a trade.

"It's underrated, it really is," Heidinger, a Guilderland senior said. "The satisfaction you get from building something with your hands to a finished product is amazing."

"There's money to be made out in the field. There's endless job opportunities," Strokes, a Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk senior said.

In fact, Drogone said just in New York state there are over 600,000 jobs that pay a median salary of $55,000 and only require skilled training and a high school degree.

Don Matoon, is in a 2007 welding program graduate. He now teaches the course to high school juniors and seniors.

"These guys got a pretty good career path going on," Matoon said. "They're taking the basic skills they learned here and kinda running with it."

The application process for the upcoming school year is already underway, so if you think you might want to take part in any of the programs through Capitol Region BOCES, talk to your school guidance counselor immediately.


Emily Burkhard

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