Newsday reporter Dave Marcus has surveyed the state of vocational education on Long Island, and found needs being met, training being provided, students challenged and rewarded. Although credit is due many people, Marcus highlights the central role played by the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES), regional educational centers financed from federal, state and local sources. From “Business Booming for Trade Partners“:
Every school day, more than 5,000 high school students fan out to take the specialized courses, which have changed dramatically with the times. Thirty years ago, most students took carpentry, welding or auto mechanics; these days they also study nursing, television production, avionics, cosmetology and theater arts.
The growth of the programs is also occurring at the same time that educational standards are kept high, allowing high school students to earn college credit in the 11th and 12th grades, giving them a head start on higher education, including the community colleges providing the courses they are already taking. For example,
Brian DeMartino, 18, who graduated last month from North Babylon High School, didn’t like English and social studies until teachers came to his BOCES auto mechanics program. For English class, they wrote letters to customers, and in social studies they studied the history of the industry. DeMartino quickly found a job at a car dealer and plans to go to Suffolk Community College.
As the Manufacturing Institute’s Phyllis Eisen notes, “If we don’t have the talent to sustain 21st century manufacturing, we’re going to lose our competitive edge.” Judging by this excellent Newsday package, it appears people are working hard on Long Island to keep that competitive edge sharp.
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