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SCSD Students Connect with 70+ Local Businesses at Inaugural CTE Career Fair

This is a photo of several students crowding around a round table, each completing a job application at a CTE Career Fair.When you think of traditional summer jobs for a high school student, most envision a lifeguard, cashier, wait staff or lawn mower.
For SCSD high school students training in the District’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, their summer job opportunities extend far beyond the traditional. And thanks to a recent CTE Career Fair, hosted by Onondaga Community College and in collaboration with Partners for Education & Business and MACNY, all 11th and 12th grade CTE students recently had the opportunity to speak with more than 70 local businesses about available opportunities!
“The CTE Career Fair was awesome,” PSLA at Fowler junior Cinthia Lopez, a Cosmetology student, said. “I got to meet a lot of people and learn about their jobs. There was one specific company that I loved – CNY Latino magazine. It’s awesome how they have the magazine in two languages. This made me excited because they were looking for someone who can manage the social media and take pictures and I love doing those kinds of things. I told them that my plans are to finish my cosmetology career and take photography classes so I can take good and professional pictures of my work. The Career Fair made me feel excited and prepared because thanks to the event, I have more clarity in what I want to do and the goals I have.”
Cinthia and roughly 600 students from all five SCSD high schools attended the event, dressed for success and prepared with resumes, business cards and elevator speeches. Their CTE teachers spent the better part of March preparing students for the event, along with help from work-based learning coordinators, counselors and other school staff.
The first of its kind event is intended to help connect local employers with students soon to be entering the workforce who are trained in the fields of technology, healthcare, construction trades, advanced manufacturing, public service, entrepreneurship, and trades. Students made professional connections and learned about paid and unpaid internships, part time work, full time work, job shadows and more.
“It was a great experience for all students involved,” Nottingham National Resource CTE teacher Jaime Rodriguez said. “Many of my students are excited for the next steps in securing a job, internship or other career experience. Every student I brought to the Career Fair came back to school excited and looking forward to following up with at least one company!”
“The Career Fair was an awesome event and my students really showed up and showed out!” PSLA at Fowler Cosmetology instructor Karen Riche said. “I’m so proud of my Cosmetology 300 students! They made excellent connections with businesses. One of them said a company had emailed her the next day to offer her an opportunity for the summer!”
We’re so proud of our CTE students for their preparation and professionalism. Business partners were also impressed with our students and their career readiness skills. See below for feedback from several of the businesses that participated!
“OCC is increasing opportunities for students to learn about the wide range of careers available and the preparation necessary to enter those careers. We know that students want to make sure they are taking the right steps to build the futures they envision for themselves and their families. A career fair provides a chance to explore new fields and to learn about opportunities, and we are happy to be working with SCSD to support students as they prepare for the future.”
  • Dr. Casey Crabill, President, Onondaga Community College
“MACNY is proud to partner with the Syracuse City School District and the Career and Technical Education program to connect students with our local business partners. We have listened to our members on the importance of engaging with future employees at an earlier age, especially with the current labor shortage. We look forward to our continued partnership with OCC and the Syracuse City School District.”
  • Randy Wolken, President & CEO, MACNY
“We wanted to give our compliments to all the young adults that attended the CTE Career Fair, as well as their instructors. We've done a handful of these types of events and never have we seen so many interested, excited, professional, prepared and polite individuals stop by our booth. We were so impressed with their willingness to learn and ask questions, as well as their preparedness with resumes, portfolios and business cards! The Syracuse area has some amazing talent and we would be lucky to have some of these bright young students come to work for us in the near future.”
  • Julie August, Marketing Coordinator, Haun Welding Supply
“Byrne is a local, family owned company and community support is a key component in what we do. We support the mission of the SCSD and the CTE Pathways program to prepare students to be responsible, active citizens! They are the up and coming workforce and whether students are looking to move directly into the labor market or are pursuing higher education, it’s important to know what options they have within their direct community! It was evident that the students were prepared. I was impressed with the well written resumes and business cards with QR technology incorporated into them! The passion and interest from some of the students was invigorating.
“Opportunities like this allows us to connect with students to share more about what we do as an organization (while clarifying that we are the manufacturing and distribution aspect of Byrne), so they can see that we have great career opportunities right here in CNY – many that do not require a college degree, if that is not their desired educational path. The ability to share what technical skillsets that are valuable in ‘the real world’ so they can focus accordingly can help us as an organization with hiring technical ability from the upcoming workforce! Byrne is open to proposing onsite tours for technology students at the junior and senior levels and willing to partner with the program to identify graduating seniors who are looking to move directly into the workforce for employment opportunities.”
  • Kim Maloney, Talent Manager, Byrne Dairy
The field of Laboratory Medicine is currently suffering from critical staffing shortages and many laboratories have a vacancy rates of over 20%, which are projected to get worse as many of our experienced staff retire in the next 5-10 years. Unfortunately, the number of college students currently enrolled or graduating from Clinical Laboratory Technology programs does not cover these staffing demands. Upstate Laboratory, in partnership with the Clinical Laboratory Technology Program at SUNY Upstate Medical University, has recently formed a recruitment committee. We have identified the need for educating our high school students regarding our profession. Many times, we have recent college graduates, looking to apply for our vacant positions. However, because they did not attend an accredited clinical laboratory technology program and obtain their NYS Clinical Laboratory Technology license, they are not able to do so. The resounding feedback we hear is, ‘I wish I would have known about this profession when I was choosing a major.’ We were hoping to provide these soon-to-be graduates with a better understanding of our profession, to help them make informed decisions about their education and career choices for the future.
“The event was amazing! The kids were professional, polite, and engaged. We were able to make some amazing connections that would not have happened, had it not been for this event. We loved the resumes, business cards, how the kids were dressed professionally, that they all introduced themselves and were articulate, and that they had applicable questions regarding our career field. These types of events provide us with the opportunity to expose students to a career in the medical field that they may not have otherwise known about. Hopefully, a decision to pursue a career in clinical laboratory technology will increase admission numbers in clinical laboratory technology programs, and eventually provide us with the properly trained and licensed staff needed to fill our current shortages.”
  • Michelle Dautrich, Clinical Laboratory Technologist and Associate Technical Director at the Community Campus Laboratory, Upstate Medical Hospital
“We’re looking to attract talent to some great programs that National Grid offers like our GridTern program (summer internships), Graduate Development Program (accelerating new hires out of college in a rotation program at National Grid), and to fill the many open positions we have seeking candidates with associates and/or bachelor’s degrees. Many students presented themselves as confident, prepared, and engaging. Some students knew a lot about our company and what we do. We were impressed by many of these conversations with these talented young adults who are far more prepared for the workplace than we were at the end of high school! A few students even had business cards. What an innovative, creative way to impress an employer and get your name out there! Career fairs are a great chance for us to share what education requirements National Grid has for various career paths for students who are in the early stages of career preparation. It gives us a chance to share the new hire programs we offer and learn more about what sparks their interests as well.”
  • Patricia O’Kay, Manager, Project Management, National Grid
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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