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Students Find Passion, Opportunities in Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program

Tue, Aug 22nd 2023 09:00 am

BATAVIA, NY – After a meeting with an advisor at Genesee Community College, Kyle Stefan entered the Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program with an open mind.

Stefan, a Pavilion High School graduate, believed he made the right decision to join the Batavia-based workforce program well before the six weeks of paid on-the-job training and instruction were complete.

“I would have never found my passion for a career in HVAC if it wasn’t for the pre-apprenticeship program,” said Stefan, one of ten students graduating on August 24. “There’s no way to know if there is something you like to do without trying. I am able to apply what I learn in a classroom setting to my work at Arctic Refrigeration and find out this is a career I would like to pursue.”

WATCH: Student Perspectives on the 2023 Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program

For the third consecutive year, the Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program has welcomed students from diverse backgrounds, levels of education, and career experiences with an opportunity to jump start successful careers.

During the bootcamp, participants attend morning classes in the Genesee Valley BOCES classroom, training with $700,000 of mechatronics equipment funded in part by a Genesee County Economic Development Center grant. In the afternoons, and for a full-day on Fridays, students apply the lessons they learn at employers in Genesee, Livingston, and Monroe counties.

“I really enjoyed the freedom to use the equipment and materials to build things and you learn and go at your own pace,” said bootcamp participant Bradley Burdett. “I would recommend this program to anyone because there are a lot of opportunities.  It’s beyond just a classroom education as we are learning and experiencing life lessons.”

Burdett, an Attica High School graduate, enrolled in the program on the recommendation of bootcamp instructor Rich Monroe after teaching Bradley for two years at BOCES.

With student participation at Genesee Valley BOCES increasing since the launch of GLOW with Your Hands in 2019, Genesee County Economic Development Center Vice President of Business and Workforce Development Chris Suozzi sees the bootcamp as the next step in empowering students to take the future into their own hands.

“The pre-apprenticeship bootcamp offers a unique opportunity for students to discover their career path without the burden of college debt,” said Suozzi. “The jobs this program introduces students to provides them with a promising opportunity to enter into the workforce in the in-demand careers in our region.”

Learn more about upcoming Workforce Programs in Genesee County

The Genesee Valley Pre-Apprenticeship Program has grown annually since its inception in 2021. This year’s students joined pre-apprenticeship tracks at USG, Arctic Refrigeration, Triton Mechanical, Radec Electric, Goforth Electric, Maris Systems Design, and Oxbo.

The bootcamp and experience with Radec Electric has supported a career-change for Darlene Robare-Kessler of Fairport. Robare-Kessler said she appreciates the safe learning environment and mix of classroom and real job experience.

“I love the hands-on aspects of working with manufacturing equipment and the program has helped align my experience in the food and beverage industry giving me another side of the manufacturing industry to explore,” said Robare-Kessler. “(The program) is empowering me to gain practical skills that I will be able to utilize within the workplace and hopefully throughout my career.”

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