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July 13, 2014

Technical training a key part of education

Clinton County has a system of vocational training that some of you may not have heard about. National educational leaders have taken notice, though.

The New York State Legislature established the Boards of Cooperative Education Services (BOCES) just after World War II as a way to help school districts share resources and provide alternative educational and vocational training to students who may not be college bound. Since then, the system has evolved in our region as Champlain Valley Educational Services. They have developed a variety of technical and vocational training opportunities through their CV-TEC technical and career education entity.

CV-TEC has just been awarded a huge recognition for what they do. They have received national accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education, the leading accrediting body for vocational programs of their sort.

I should perhaps be more precise. Normally, the Council on Occupational Education does not accredit programs that primarily serve high school aged students. CV-TEC also has adult learners, those that need retraining, and even evening programs to fill some badly needed workforce needs in our community. But, it is also the major trainer of school-aged students seeking good-paying careers right here in Clinton County, and does so as well as the best vocational colleges nationwide.

Education has become siloed and beleaguered over the past decade or so. Every one of us can recall a teacher that made a real difference in our lives. But, the organization of education sometimes diverges from its mission to bring gifted teachers together with eager students to create a well-trained and fulfilled citizenry and workforce.

Not all students ought to be college-bound, although every student needs some advanced training these days. That is where CV-TEC steps in. It provides skilled teachers and well-equipped facilities so students can gain skills in everything from aircraft repair to welding (sorry, no zookeeping yet).

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