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18 year-olds graduating with great jobs as electricians, all without college student loans

by WayneTimes.com
June 8, 2024

The Wayne Technical & Career Center in Williamson held its CTE Signing Day on Wednesday (6/5) morning at the  Conference Center in Newark.

It was standing room only as graduating seniors, along with teachers, staff, employers and proud parents watched on as students and employers signed certificates of employment.

During the ceremony, more than 60 students from 25 component school districts in the Wayne-Finger Lakes Region formally committed to their future employers by signing Letters of Intent, signifying their roles as valuable new entrants into their chosen industries. 

Teaching the electrical trades is Jim Buck, who has been working at BOCES for the past 29 years. Before moving to teaching, Jim spent 15 years as an electrical inspector and earlier as a master machinist.

The Seneca Falls native gladly travels the 40 mile round trip to the Williamson campus and stated "I love to do it."

Teaching electrical  trades to juniors and seniors is more than fulfilling, as 16 of his graduating students, not only completed the two year course, but 100% of them were hired by an electrical market hungry for their skills.

The total 900 hours of study and hands-on skill training includes basic electrical theory, off-campus internships with potential employers in the field and wiring a modular home that will become a Habitat for Humanity home.

The students learn home, commercial, solar and resume construction as well as a one-on-one  interviews with potential employers. "That’s how most got their jobs," quipped Buck, proudly.

Not only classroom time at the BOCES campus, potential electricians must complete internships with related companies as well as their regular school work at district schools.

Buck stated the vast majority of his past electrical students not only stay in the field, but become productive parts of society, all without starting their adult lives without heavy student college loans to repay.

On average the graduating student in the electronics program has a starting pay of anywhere from $20 to $25 per hour. Jim also credits the course work showing his charges that there is life beyond Wayne County.

Recently, a 2014 student graduate popped in to see Jim just to touch base. Another 2007 graduate came in as the boss, of an accompanying 2021 student he had hired.

In the electrical trades Halco Energy,  a Town of Phelps company in electorial, plumbing and solar service and installations, scooped up eight of the electrical trades 2024 graduates, providing internships and guidance over the students  education and count a number of past graduates now working for the company

Joe Tavano from was the recipient of his first BOCES employee. Lucas Powers walked into his business in Clyde hoping to find a place where he could intern in the electronics field. Joe, knowing his parents gave the go ahead and as soon as he graduated Lucas became the tenth employee of Joe Tavano Electric.

"He was definitely well prepared and his work ethic and routine showed he was ready to work. Lucas first experience will be working in high voltage industrial settings.

The electrical training program, along with the other BOCES studies include Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, Auto Technology, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Health Professions and Heavy Equipment Repair and Operation.

The students not only learn their respective trades, but compete with similar programs throughout the state, with Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES taking a fair share of the awards over the years.

The program success is forming  working bonds with students and employers throughout the region.

Over 36 graduates, along with representatives from their employers  signed the agreements at CTE Signing Day on Wednesday, proof of the technical and trade programs overall success.

Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES District Superintendent Lynne Rutnik congratulated the students, saying, “I say this all the time to folks: your network is your net worth. Having students go out and work in the industry and secure those paid internships has truly paid off for our scholars. Congratulations, scholars, you did it!”

The total graduating class at Wednesday’s ceremony, along with their with their respective employers can be found on Page C-10.

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