CTE Students Join CBM Staff

CTE Students Join CBM Staff
Posted on 06/26/2023

Canastota rising senior Andrew Haddad didn’t have just any afterschool job this year.

During the spring, while still in his first year of the CTE Automotive Technology program, Andrew secured a job with the MOBOCES Central Bus Maintenance service, which maintains vehicles for 11 area school districts. He worked for 10 hours a week at the bus garage, located in Oneida, supporting full-time staff with oil changes, brake repairs, inspection preparations and other mechanical work that keeps school buses on the road. He will continue on at the garage full time this summer.

Andrew, 16, said he has always been interested in cars, engines and building and fixing things. At home, he works on dirt bikes and four-wheelers, often learning by following along with YouTube videos.

“I’m more of a hands-on person, that’s how I learn,” he said. “I’m really liking this experience here at the garage. There’s a lot to do and I ask a lot of questions, and the guys here are great. Everyone is really helpful. There’s always something new to learn.”

The CBM service has a long history of working with both Career and Technical Education (CTE) students and Special Education students from MOBOCES on school-day internships and work-based learning experiences, Regional Transportation Supervisor Frank Slawiak said. This is the first time a high school student has been hired for paid work – but it may not be the last time, Slawiak said.

“It’s tough to hire good mechanics,” he said. “Andrew is skilled and is always looking to learn something new, and he’s really enthusiastic about being here. It seemed like a good opportunity to try it out – and it has been great for everyone.”

It has worked out well enough that Slawiak hired another CTE rising senior to a summer mechanic job. Heavy Equipment Operation student Dylan Richmond, also from Canastota, began working in mid-June.

Andrew began working afterschool in April, less than a year after beginning his CTE course. Auto Tech instructor Phil Maitland said when he told his class about the position, Andrew immediately responded.

“For me to recommend someone, it’s really about whether they have the maturity for the workplace,” Maitland said. “Not all high school students are mature enough to be in a professional setting yet.”

MOBOCES Head Mechanic Aaron Bell said Andrew has a lot of relevant technical skills, but just as importantly, he is a good worker – he arrives on time, he gets along with staff, he’s eager to learn new things, and he is willing to help out wherever he is needed.

andrew haddadAndrew plans to resume his afterschool hours in the fall. He will couple that experience with his senior year Auto Tech program, which is embedded at Nye Auto Group in Oneida to allow students to work alongside professionals from different dealerships and learn more about the auto industry.

While he hasn’t decided on his post-graduation plans yet, Andrew said he is interested in a career in the automotive trades. Bell said that shouldn’t be too difficult for Andrew.

“We have a lot of equipment here – engines, lifts, forklifts, payloaders – and he’ll get experience on everything,” Bell said. “When he goes out to look for work after graduating, he’ll have such a leg up right when he walks through the door.”