Helping Students to Consider Exciting Career Choices

DCMO BOCES hosted a successful mentor and career day at the SUNY Oneonta campus. The event entitled It’s a Guy Thing invites middle school male students to develop a career goals framework and to connect with mentors. A similar event is held in the spring for female students. Responding to employment opportunities data, a manufacturing career workshop was introduced.

The Alliance for Manufacturing and Technology (AM&T) sponsored a Lean Manufacturing workshop led by Carol Miller, a Certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, and assisted by Kathy Peacock. The Lean management philosophy teaches five steps to reduce waste in a production process. Carol Miller customized the program using Lego™ pieces and led young students to work as teams, to improve production flow and achieve improved quality.

Martha Ryan, the event coordinator, commented about this resource, “When we introduce the Lean philosophy to young students, we provide a new tool to improve personal, academic and career performance. This is a tool they can apply now and in the future.” Ryan explained that the program teaches teamwork and communication which are two key employment skills sought by employers in the region. “We were fortunate to count on the support from AM&T to sponsor the program and their participation also ignited collaborations from other employers such as GE - Unison and Amphenol,” said Ryan about the ripple effect from AM&T’s support. The AM&T workshop was deemed the 2nd best by the students and best by the teachers.

Former educator and now successful business owner, Bruce Erath, opened the program with a clever Out Of the Box presentation. He guided boys to understand the importance of making the right decisions and to add value to everything they do. “We were fortunate to have Mr. Erath connect not only to students but also to the educators who shared excellent comments about the presentation’s relevance to current challenges faced by students,” said Ryan.

Students also benefited from a Financial Literacy presentation by Jim Caruso, Territory Manager at NBT Bank. Using an expense tracking document, Caruso coached students to understand the effect of compounded expenses, therefore, pointing out the benefits of saving. Educators in the audience applauded NBT Bank’s presentation and considered this introduction to be very important to young students. Beyond the call of duty, Caruso invited students to connect with him personally for questions. Parents can find more information and many resources for youth financial literacy at the NBT Bank website.

It’s a Guy Thing also featured hands-on workshops. Devoted professionals from Delaware Engineering, Catskill Regional Teacher Center, UHS - Chenango Memorial Hospital, and DCMO BOCES Technology Department, provided students with the opportunity to explore careers of the future. “Post-event surveys confirmed the student’s satisfaction with the interactive presentations. We value each of our presenter’s time investment as they delivered a first class workshop for our students.”

The It’s a Guy Thing Career Day event is presented by DCMO BOCES with the support of SUNY Oneonta. Funding and resources for this event were provided in part by our presenters and by The Voss Group, Chobani, Scoville-Meno Chevrolet, BCK-IBI Group, Leonard Bus Sales, James Jordan Associates, and Mirabito Fuel Group. The free event is open to 35 school districts in the DCMO and ONC BOCES. For more information on how to get involved in future mentoring events, visit the enrichment programs page at