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Machining program helps students prepare for careers

BY: Community Papers of WNY Staff | May 11, 2013

The students in the Precision Machine Technology program at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center don’t seem to be too worried about getting jobs after graduation.

Many of them know they have the opportunity to stay with the companies that they are currently capstoning with if they choose.

“I love working at Contracts Unlimited in Lockport,” said Roy-Hart senior Ian Brennan. “I am always working on something different and they have been great to me. I am staying there after I graduate and I could not be happier.”

Capstoning is a partnership between teacher Bill Rakonczay and area businesses which allows his students to take the skills they have learned in class and use them in an actual workplace. The students work for the companies four days a week as a paid employee.

“Many of these companies cannot find enough trained workers to fill their needs,” said Rakonczay. “Most of my students do not need to worry about what they are going to do after graduation because they already have jobs lined up in their senior year. If students are looking for a program they can take while in high school that will get them on a good career path, I would highly recommend this program.”

The students say that actually seeing how a real company works has benefitted them greatly and given them more opportunities.

Mike Wilson from Newfane said the class at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ center has been great, but he is finding he gets more one on one time at Niagara Precision.

“It’s really nice because they have different machines than what we have in class and the people there are very helpful with showing me how to work them,” said Wilson. “I have already been offered a job at graduation.”

Classmate Alex Volschow, also from Newfane echoes his sentiment.

“I am working at Nutallgear making gear boxes,” he said. “It is really cool and interesting and different from what I am exposed to in class.”

The program is not only drawing in high school students, but adult students as well who are looking for a better career.

Joe Summers has been working at Amada Tool in Batavia.

“When I got out of high school, it was just one dead end job after another,” said Summers. “I wanted to learn something that would help me to support my family. I like to work with my hands and I find it really rewarding to see something that I created. This class and working at Amada has really allowed me to better myself and I am very grateful.”

Several of Rakonczay’s students are using the program as a stepping stone for their college careers.

James Cooper likes working at Golf Products and says when he attends RIT this fall for Mechanical Engineering it will make him a better engineer because he will know what is involved in making the parts he designs.

“Now that I have a working knowledge if making parts, I know the possibilities and the limits to my creations,” he said.

Benjamin Walker will be attending NCCC for Machining and Drafting and then going on to pursue Mechanical Engineering.

“I love working with my hands and this program got my foot in the door towards my career,” said Walker.

“It’s a win-win situation for the students and the companies,” Rakonczay said. “The students get more skills and learn what is expected of them in a workplace and the employers get a potential employee that they can train and observe to see if they are a good fit for their business. It makes me feel good that they come to Orleans/Niagara BOCES for these workers. It shows me that we have an excellent reputation in the area and our students are in high demand.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Precision Machine Technology program contact Rakonczay at wrakonczay@onboces.org.

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