From left, Walton students Jon Conrow, Sarah Gladstone, Sierra Tweedie, and Kraft plant manager Mark Henderson.
The Walton Central School District is joining the DCMO BOCES career destinations program, a partnership between the BOCES and many component districts. The idea is to create a program to impact student retention in the region.
The program, which is designed to introduce middle and high school students to a variety of local career opportunities, will connect regional employers with the classroom.
“We are pleased to welcome Walton Central School to our program,” said Christina McCall-Hopkins, the program coordinator. “Their leadership and career development support team are poised to adopt the goals and the strategies set forth to retain graduates with outstanding local careers and jobs.”
At a glance, the program offers students the opportunity to develop career plans, identify work readiness skills, and prepare for professional interviews. Working with area businesses, the program offers students a chance to learn about careers through job shadowing, facility tours, guest speakers, and more.
“Employers play a critical role in the career destinations program with their participation in the classroom, sponsorship of learning experience, and as active recruiters,” said Walton CSD Superintendent Dr. Michael MacDonald. “The Walton Central School District is recruiting area businesses that would be interested in providing our students with career exploration opportunities.”
McCall-Hopkins said employers can host a work-based learning program site, post and promote summer jobs or paid internship positions, present to students on skills, workplace requirements, or industry standards, or become a student mentor or job coach.
“Ultimately, the goal of career destinations is to show our young workers the variety of career opportunities available to them at home,” MacDonald said. “We hope this helps retain our graduates and strengthens our communities.”
Walton students recently toured the local Kraft Heinz plant and met with Mark Henderson, the production manager.
“Kids that stay local can have all the same opportunities as those who leave,” Henderson said. “The best way to improve our community isn’t to have others come in, it is to have our talent stay home.”