Despite the reality that regional employers require skills such as specialized technical information, teamwork, and the use of technology, Appalachian New York’s education system has not kept pace with the demand for these skills. This, paired with rural schools’ dilemma of long-term declines in student enrollment and increasing levels of student poverty, have jointly contributed to the skilled workers gap in Appalachian New York.
Using ARC support, the Career Destinations: Connecting Students to Local Jobs and Careers program connects middle and high school students in Chenango, Delaware, and Otsego counties in New York with career development opportunities in local industry clusters like advanced manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, and business. By guiding students through research, planning, work-based learning and job experiences, the program prepares students for local post-secondary education and employment opportunities, while addressing employer needs for skilled workers.
Recently, the Delaware-Chenango-Madison-Otsego (DCMO) Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) received a $500 seed grant from Visions Federal Credit Union to reward the top student from the Careers Destinations program in the Entrepreneurship workshop held this fall. This local business gift supports the business industry cluster proposed for students’ career exploration.
An estimated 200 middle and high school students will be served with personalized career planning and opportunities to connect with local employers through career exploration events and work-based learning experiences. 210 local businesses will be served with chances to interact with students to promote career opportunities and work with educators to better prepare students for current and future workforce needs.