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The Telegram
  • Adult retraining programs now an option at BOCES

  • Utilizing grant money received from the federal stimulus package, Herkimer BOCES and the Herkimer County Working Solutions One-Stop Center are joining forces to offer adult career retraining programs, beginning in July.

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  • Utilizing grant money received from the federal stimulus package, Herkimer BOCES and the Herkimer County Working Solutions One-Stop Center are joining forces to offer adult career retraining programs, beginning in July.
    The programs, open to Herkimer County residents 18 and over, offer people the opportunity to expand their employment opportunities by mastering a new trade, or receiving additional training on a pre-existing career. The courses are free to Herkimer County residents who qualify. Because the money used to fund the program comes entirely from the nearly $65,000 received from the stimulus package, its operation will require no tax dollars, and will not effect the BOCES operating budget.
    Development of the program began in February, when they received news about President Obama’s proposed stimulus package. Jim Picolla, director of Career and Technical Training at BOCES, working in conjunction with Karin Zipko of the Herkimer County Working Solutions One-Stop Center, went through the grant application process, seeking to offer job retraining in three distinct areas: Heavy Equipment Operator, Building Construction and Automotive Technology.
    “There are 15 different programs available in the BOCES Career Training program, after discussion, it was decided that these three programs had the greatest potential to bring more trained people into the workforce,” said Picolla.
    The Heavy Equipment Operator training will get underway on July 6. Classes will meet from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. each week day until Aug. 5, encompassing 180 class hours upon completion.
    “This is an intensive course, designed to get people trained and qualified, and ready to join the workforce before winter sets in,” said Picolla. In addition to training attendees in the operation of such heavy equipment as backhoes, dump trucks and skid steers, instructors Mike Davis and Doug Pilbean will also be teaching some routine maintenance on the equipment. “This field often involves lay-offs during the slow season,” said Picolla. “With the added perk of maintenance training, people who have taken this course stand a better chance of avoiding lay-offs, by being capable of providing routine maintenance on the equipment.” The course has a limit of 16 students.
    The Building Construction program, taught by BOCES instructors John Martin and Ed Head, will initially focus on basic, core knowledge such as use of hand and power tools, blue print reading and math. It will cover both carpentry and masonry skills. Students will receive training in rough framing, finishing work, dry wall, electric, as well as flooring and roofing systems. Masonry work will cover both flat work (such as sidewalks) as well as brick, stone, and tile work. The class will meet from 4 - 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday at the Herkimer BOCES building beginning July 6 and running through mid-October. Class size is limited to 15 students.
    The Automotive Technology class will be taught by BOCES instructor Jim Erlichman. It will offer students instruction on power brake system diagnostics and repair, as well as training in steering and suspension systems. At the end of the class period, students will be qualified to enter the workforce as an auto mechanic at an entry level position. In addition, training will be provided to prepare students for the Automobile Inspection Licensing exam, which is offered in Albany. “While we cannot provide people with the license, we can prepare them fully to receive it,” said Picolla. Students completing the program will qualify for the Automobile Service Excellence (ASE) designation. The class will meet at the Herkimer BOCES building from 5 - 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday beginning July 13 and running through the end of October.
    Page 2 of 2 - In addition the programs being offered, BOCES Director of the Adult Literacy and Training Programs, Mary Kline will also be offering the support of their GED and literacy programs to assist students with their training. “We want to remove as many barriers as possible to get people involved with this program,” said Picolla.
    Registration for classes is now underway at the Herkimer County Working Solutions One-Stop Center, located at 320 North Prospect St. in Herkimer. They will be holding group session reviews on Thursday mornings at 9 a.m. for all those interested in participating in the classes. Individual interviews will be conducted following the group sessions. “Our goal is to tailor the program to each individual, based on past experience and future goals of each individual,” said Beth Bunce, Working Solutions program coordinator. The classes are filling up fast, and are being offered on a first come, first served basis. For more information on enrollment contact Beth Bunce at 867-1400. 
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