ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — We are looking at another way students can prepare for their future before graduating.

High School students can get a jumpstart on their careers by participating in one of the many New York State BOCES Career and Technical programs.

“There’s a huge need for workers right now,” Eastern Monroe Career Center Principal Mike Ehret says. “We’ve seen an increase in enrollment over the past 5 years, especially post COVID, with waitlists in all of our trade space programs.”

Those programs are at the Eastern Monroe Career Center — one of 37 BOCES in NYS.

“The advantage to have, coming out of a program like this is that you go right to work,” Ehret says. “Many of the companies that we partner with are paying students to take classes at MCC and further their education. So not only are they not saddled with a four-year degree and the debt that comes with that, but they’re also making money as they go to school.”

Students like Michael Cupo, who graduated from EMCC in 2021. He says he wanted to continue his education after landing a job.

“The company liked me enough that they offered me a position for me to go full-time, immediately after graduating,” Michael Cupo says. “So, I started a full-time position right away. I determined that I wanted to continue my education furthermore, and I talked to my company about it, and they actually are now paying for it.”

Michael was in just one of the 18 programs EMCC offers.

“We’ve got automotive services, there’s the construction trades and electrical,” Ehret says. “We also have IT programs, CISCO, and PC repair are a couple more.”

They say the need for workers with these skills is high and still growing.

“We need more people getting into the trade,” Cupo says. “We got plenty of people retiring out of it right now and those positions need to be filled by someone. This course is a great opportunity to get the skills and education that you need to get a great start into that career.”

Although we talked about just High School students enrolling, these CTE programs are available to adult learners as well. This is so anyone who wants to learn new skills they’re interested in can.

Students have the chance to chat with local companies and unions, so when it’s time to find a job, they’ll already have those connections.