Spring Connections Open House brings students, alumni and employers together

More than 100 attendees turn out for networking event hosted by SWBOCES

open house in trades classroom

As a recent graduate from SWBOCES’ Center for Adult & Community Services, Sean Cosby has been trained how to work as an HVAC technician. The White Plains resident considered the Spring Connections Open House as something of a next step. It provided a chance to network with his instructors and other students as well as future employers.

During the busy event, Cosby visited several tables. He said he gathered pertinent information about Local Union 21 and AAA Refrigeration Services and the apprenticeship programs both offered.

“There are definitely opportunities here,” Cosby said.

The Spring Connections Open House was intended to highlight the possibilities, from adult education programs offered by Southern Westchester BOCES to available services and resources, and, of course, paths to employment.

 people around a table talking For some, a job may be the next goal. For others, it’s having a chance to grow.

“I’m learning and I’m definitely improving,” said Greg Parelli, a welding student at the Center for Adult & Community Services who said he has interest in machining as a career. “But this gives me the information I need. It’s a start.”

The Open House — the second of its kind following the first event last fall — was designed to connect employers and industry specialists with SWBOCES’ skilled students and alumni. It was housed in Building A of the Center for Career Services in Valhalla, and over 100 attendees arrived.

The visitors browsed tables, asked questions, gathered pamphlets and fliers, and learned more about potential training sessions, jobs and employee benefits. Labor unions for carpenters, electricians, plumbers and steamfitters were represented, plus health care workers, the New York State Department of Labor, and more.

people across a table talking

There was also a table where potential students could gather information about adult education programs at SWBOCES’ Center for Adult & Community Services. There were opportunities for discussions with instructors.

Instructors said multiple programs gained enrollment from the Open House last fall.

“We can be the path to higher education,” said Maria Guerrero, SWBOCES Supervisor of Adult Literacy Programs. “Our programs are successful. This is how they get to know more about us.”

The same was true for Neighbors Link, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen communities through immigrant empowerment and integration. Kenta Togo, the Community Outreach Organization, explained the resources Neighbors Link has available for the immigrant community, including anything from legal services to job interview training.

“They may come here with skills they developed in their home country,” Togo said. “We can help teach them how they can apply those skills here.”