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Mechatronics Program Celebrates 100th Graduate

Fri, May 10th 2024 03:00 pm

Students celebrate the 100th graduate of the Batavia Career & Technical Education Center's Mechatronics ProgramBATAVIA, NY – As he entered his first class at the Electro-Mechanical Trades program at the Batavia Career & Technical Education Center, Tommy Condidorio did not anticipate the depth of the education he would receive.

“I was expecting to learn wiring, but instead we learned wiring, robotics, pneumatics, mechanical drives,” Condidorio said of the career-ready coursework instructor Rich Monroe teaches. “I’ve learned a lot more than I thought I was going to learn.”

As his final classes near, Condidorio’s experiences in the Genesee Valley BOCES program have shown him a path forward. He and classmate Joseph Costa have been offered positions as electro-mechanical assemblers at Gorbel in Monroe County, where they have completed extensive co-ops this spring.

“I never thought I’d come out of BOCES with a job,” Condidorio said.

Students like Condidorio and Costa in a fast-growing high school mechatronics program were celebrated Friday by educational, business, and training partners to mark a milestone for a training pathway supporting the growth of skilled trades and manufacturing in Genesee County and surrounding communities.

The Electro-Mechanical Trades program at the Genesee Valley BOCES Batavia Career & Technical Education Center, now in its 4th year, has connected over 100 students to college and career pathways that include direct employment and apprenticeships in the skilled trades and manufacturing.

Instructor Rich Monroe told his electro-mechanical trades students that his current students shared the honor.

“They’re all a part of it, and they’ve all been part of the success of this program,” Monroe said. “I am, very proud of all of them that have stood the test and have done what they've needed to do to be successful in this program.”

Students are trained in a state-of-the-art mechatronics lab and participate in youth apprenticeships and paid internships completed during students’ junior and senior years at employers.

"The success of the mechatronics program at Genesee Valley BOCES shows why Genesee County and our region are attracting major expansions and new companies," said Chris Suozzi, Vice President of Business & Workforce Development at the GCEDC. "These students are well trained and ready to jump directly into a career in manufacturing or the skilled trades, an apprenticeship, or additional training, and our employers are gaining a next-generation workforce to grow their operations."

In her first year in the electro-mechanical trades program, Emma Spink, a junior from Attica, completed job shadows at Koike in Wyoming County and Nortera in Genesee County.

“I saw all the different jobs that electricians could have in one building, which is very neat. This trade can take you multiple routes,” said Spink, who can progress to a more extensive co-op with a local company in her senior year with the goal of joining an apprenticeship program with an employer while also getting college credits.

“I’m really excited about this co-op opportunity,” Spink said. “I get to go to a company and they’re really excited and willing to have you, and then they actually pay you for your time there and you get to learn all about it and do electrical work for them.”

Friday’s program closed out a week of events marking National Youth Apprenticeship Week. The job shadows and co-ops Monroe’s students participate in are part of the successful

Rochester Technology & Manufacturing Association (RTMA) Finger Lakes Youth Apprenticeship Program (FLYAP). The program was created in 2018 and is the first youth apprenticeship program for students interested in manufacturing in New York State.

RTMA Director of Workforce Development Rich Turner praised the Genesee Valley BOCES program as the most active youth apprenticeship program in the region.

“For a program to have 100 graduates in four years is a huge success,” Turner said. “It’s because of the culture that’s been built here by Mr. Monroe, Chris Suozzi and his team at the GCEDC, the partner businesses … and you, the students.”

For Costa, the FLYAP-sponsored co-op has been part of a busy calendar. He is competing in track and tennis, completing his coursework at LeRoy High School, and splitting his BOCES classes between Monroe’s classroom and Gorbel.

He is excited to have a career lined up without college debt.

“It’s perfect, because I’m getting paid for it and I’m coming in with experience that I’ve already gained through BOCES,” Costa said. “It helps me a ton … they don’t have to explain every little thing to me, and the learning experience just goes so much faster.”