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Capital Region BOCES, SUNY Cobleskill and business partners team up to bolster the school to workforce pipeline

Written By Editor on 11/22/20 | 11/22/20

ALBANY – Capital Region BOCES, SUNY Cobleskill and area businesses Nortrax Inc., a John Deere Company, and Anderson Equipment joined forces on Thursday to once again boost the education of area high school students.

Representatives of the college and business partners met with dozens of students in the Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School Diesel Tech and Automotive Trades programs on the Albany Campus. In doing so, they showcased some of equipment students could work with, repair and operate should they pursue careers in the industry. A Peterbilt service truck, a Takeuchi mini excavator, a John Deere excavator simulator, John Deere Forestry simulator, hydraulic cylinders and components were all on display and available for students to use and try to operate during the Thursday event.

Ed Wallace, SUNY Cobleskill with Harley Butler (right)

Capital Region BOCES Business Liaison Nancy Liddle said the event was designed to give students real life experiences and allow them to gain knowledge from, and network work with, employers in their programs of study.

SUNY Cobleskill Outreach Instructor Ed Wallace said the college is focused on strengthening its partnership with BOCES and the school to college to workforce pipeline. An example of that, is just recently, SUNY Cobleskill officials helped BOCES earn an Associated Equipment Distributors Foundation (AEDF) 5 year Certificate of Excellence certification, recognizing the its commitment to its students and the development of the industry’s workforce.

“Several students in recent years have come out of the BOCES program and entered the workforce as technicians and equipment operators, several others have gone on to secondary institutions like SUNY Cobleskill. What we want to do is shine a spotlight on the pipeline of school to college or workforce and show there is a way of having a good paying job right in your home community,” Wallace said.

“We are trying to grow this relationship – we want to connect those three groups into one pipeline. Student starts at CTE, they can then graduate and to contractor or go to SUNY Cobleskill,” he added.

Business officials said outreach events with high school students are crucial to keeping the industry alive.

“They are a good way to plant the seeds for students, to let them know what’s available to them, to get them interested in the industry and create the connections for them early on and is a way we can keep them in the pipeline as workers in our industry down the road,” said Jerry Skiff, director of service for Anderson Equipment Co.


Students taking part in the event said they thoroughly enjoyed the hands-on experience with the equipment.


“It’s cool to be able to see some of the tools that are out there and to get to try them out. I really enjoy this kind of learning and enjoy the feeling of working on a piece of equipment and getting it running again,” said Dan Jones, a Diesel Tech junior from Guilderland.

“I’m a motor head—this kind of stuff is what is going on in my head most of the time. I am interested, literally, in all of this,” added classmate Harley Butler from Schoharie.

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