LIBERTY – An investment in local industry by the Sullivan County Legislature paid off on Wednesday, June 7 when seven residents graduated from the County’s inaugural Construction Trades training program.
“Thanks to our financial stability from prudent fiscal management, this Legislature was able to set aside funds to allow people in our County to gain a valuable set of skills that they plan to immediately take into the workforce,” noted Legislature Chairman Robert A. Doherty. “It’s great to see people who were looking for a path to actually be given that path to a sustainable career.”
The nine-week program was administered by the Center for Workforce Development, part of the County’s Division of Community Resources. Classes started April 10 and ran two evenings a week at Sullivan BOCES’ Rubin Pollack Education Center in Liberty.
“This was hands-on training at BOCES’ fully equipped workshop, and these graduates are immediately ready to work with any number of employers, as the local building industry is growing fast,” said Community Resources Commissioner Laura Quigley.
“This is the start of something we hope the County will continue with BOCES and SUNY Sullivan, because it’s so important to have education when and where you need it,” Legislature Vice Chair Michael Brooks told the graduates that evening. “This is a win-win, and I hope this opens up doors for each one of you to have a career.”
Indeed, it already has.
“I started this thinking I wanted to parlay it into something with my own private business, but after this experience, what I really would like to do is get on board here at BOCES as his [instructor Darryl Emmett’s] teaching assistant,” said graduate David Jett.
“I’m thinking of going into maintenance, but I also just got my forklift operator’s license,” said graduate Dominic Cabrera, to cheers and applause from the audience.
“I’m grateful for the fact that this is a free program and is guiding all of us on to a career,” affirmed graduate Ben Ziff, who will be joining a local union.
The other four graduates were Chris Madden, Ben Stone, Chance Stallworth and Duane Koskey.
“We are proud of the seven individuals who have completed this program and wish them the best of luck and success as they continue on their pathway to their new career,” said Robert M. Dufour, Ed.D., District Superintendent/CEO at Sullivan BOCES. “This is just the beginning of our partnership with the Center for Workforce Development and the County. Discussions are under way to provide future educational opportunities for adult learners, which will help build and maintain our County’s workforce.”
“This has been an incredible opportunity for these men, ranging in age from their 20s to their 50s, some single, some with families,” explained Center for Workforce Development Director Loreen Gebelein, who spearheaded this project. “They should be as proud of themselves as we are of them!”