SARAT0GA SPRINGS – On Tuesday, Oct. 30 New York State Senator James Tedisco (R, C – 49th Senate District) toured the F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga Springs. Members of Future Farmers of America (FFA) and SkillsUSA led the tour, providing Senator Tedisco with information about the Career and Technical Education programs they are enrolled in. Students in the Exceptional Learners Division made presentations about their Boys Town Merit projects.
FFA is an American 501 youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education. SkillsUSA is a United States career and technical student organization serving more than 395,000 high school, college, and middle school students and professional members enrolled in training programs.
Tedisco is a former special education teacher, guidance counselor, athletic director, and coach.
“I think this program is a building block. When you are standing on a building block you have an advantage over a lot of other young people. This is a program that gives them that information, that education, to be ready for industry. Preparation is what education is about. This is real preparation,” Tedisco said.
WSWHE BOCES Superintendent of Schools, James Dexter told the senator that all CTE programs, as well as most Exceptional Learning programs include internships, or job shadowing, which provides students with real world experiences, and exposure to prospective employers or continuing education opportunities.
Environmental Conservation and Forestry Program Instructor, Dennis Flynn spoke about FFA and the national convention his students recently returned from.
“The forestry program has an articulation agreement with Paul Smiths College. Students can finish this program with five college credits at Paul Smiths. Nine of my students who completed the forestry program in 2017 are attending Paul Smiths this year,” Flynn acknowledged.
Also during his visit, Tedisco had the chance to see a Regents math class. Shayne Bishop, an instructor in the Exceptional Learners Division, showed the senator how he works with students to engage them in mathematics.
“We like to connect the real world with some of the algebra and geometry that we are working on. This is just one class of many,” Bishop stated.
Senator Tedisco made a comment that when he meets local businesses they tell him that while there are many good jobs to have but not enough skilled workers to work them.
“We are fortunate to have great relationships with industry partners,” Dexter assured Tedisco.
“The kids did a great job, you are all dong a great job. Now we, the Senate and the Assembly, need to do our job and make sure the funding comes through to keep supporting these programs,” Tedisco said.