PYA students encouraged to find a career here
Following the remarkable success and popularity of Career Exploration at Penn Yan Middle School in the spring, the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, the Yates County Chamber of Commerce, and Workforce Development brought the same experience to Penn Yan Academy’s 11th graders Oct. 10.
PYA’s junior class members were given the opportunity to meet with men and women who have made new careers for themselves right here in Yates County, sharing their stories with the next generation to help them find their own paths to success.
While there are many stories of people who have made a successful career, seeming to have come from nothing, it makes a difference when you hear these stories coming from the people in your own town who walked the same school hallways you do today. And when your family has been struggling financially for generations, that can make for a new perspective on your future.
Divided into four groups, the students rotated to presentations in each of five important career areas for Yates County:
• Advanced Manufacturing – with Steve Isaacs from Coach and Equipment, and Jason Saner from Abtex.
• Skilled trades – with Ryan Dailey from Dailey Electric, and Chris Schaefer from Solar Wind Farm
• Agriculture & Tourism – with Brian Karweck from Climbing Bines Brewery and Hop Farm, and Caitlin Canty and Megan Cocola from Finger Lakes Premier Properties.
• Health care – with Yates County Legislature Chairman Timothy Dennis, D.M.V. from Eastview Veterinary Clinic, and a representative from Finger Lakes Community Health.
Presenters stressed the opportunities for workers here, but also the responsibility of being willing to work.
Dennis spoke of his arrival in Yates County about 40 years ago and beginning his clinic with himself, his wife, and a secretary. Today, Eastview Veterinary Clinic employs over 50 people. “So you see, there really are opportunities here,” he said. Schaefer stressed the value of a strong work ethic, telling the students “If your work day begins at 4 p.m., be there at 3:45 so you can be ready to start at 4.” He also said he raises his kids with that sense of hard work first above any specific knowledge or skill. But part of career planning is also about personal satisfaction. Karweck said “If you find something you love to do, you’ll never work again.”
Part of the morning included a visit from U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, who spoke informally with the entire student body, taking questions from the audience and hearing the career plans and motivations of several students. He reinforced the career speakers, highlighting the manufacturing and skilled trade opportunities available and growing in this part of New York. Reed urged the students to find something for which they feel a passion, saying that is the key to happiness and success in a career, and not to believe negative news and predictions of the state’s economic failure. He says the future in New York is bright and gave himself as an example of someone coming home to find a career for life.
PYA Principal David Pullen and Vice Principal Warren Kinsey thanked Reed as well as Steve Griffin and Alex Taylor of FLEDC, the Career Fair Committee of Ms. Alegre, Mr. Grattan, Mrs. Fitch, Mrs. Tillman, and Mr. Mumby, and Career Counselor/Work Experience Coordinator John Donohue for all of his efforts to plan the day.