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June 6, 2013

Students gain hands-on experience on the job

PLATTSBURGH — Responsibility, professionalism, leadership, teamwork and safety are all skills that students learn while participating in the Work Experience Program.

Open to any student in Clinton, Franklin and Essex counties, the newly established nonprofit establishes a link between area organizations and students interested in interning with them. The participants gain work experience while volunteering, program President Lance Falcon said.

Peru High School student Dustin Eyer, an intern at the Champlain Valley Transportation Museum, has the hands-on opportunity to help with the preservation of the cars, which includes cleaning and checking the oil and tire pressure.

Eyer, whose orientation there allowed him to sit inside and simulate starting and driving a Model T Ford, said he is looking forward to working with and being around the older cars. 

He will also be responsible for doing research about the vehicles, said Dick Soper, the exhibit manager.

“I grew up working in the garage with my dad,” Eyer said. “Older cars are a little bit different; still a lot to learn about them.”

About 10 students from Peru Central School are expected to learn through volunteering at the Transportation Museum.

WORK-ORIENTED

Currently, the Work Experience Program is working with students from Peru Central.

“I was quite amazed at the professionalism they showed,” Falcon said of the students who participated in the program during the 2012-13 school year.

The idea for the program came to Falcon, a bus driver for Peru Central School, as he did blacksmith demonstrations at the Babbie Rural and Farm Museum in Peru. There, he created an orientation program for students who were interested in gaining necessary skills to work at a museum.

Students have also interned at the War of 1812 Museum in Plattsburgh.

“We set up programs that are educational, work-oriented and hands-on experiences,” he said.

Opportunities for students aren’t limited to museums, however, and Falcon welcomes inquiries from other organizations and businesses that would like to get involved.

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