Students at the HFM BOCES Adirondack Academy have a new opportunity to gain real-world work experience while still in high school.
Recently, the school established a relationship with Lancaster Development, Inc. to provide internships during the school year to students interested in learning about the highway construction industry. Headquartered in Schoharie County, Lancaster Development provides heavy highway and bridge construction services across New York State and into Pennsylvania. The company’s high-profile work includes the recently constructed Exit 3 bridge over the Northway near the Albany International Airport. The company also just completed a multi-year project building new flyovers for Routes 81 and 17 in the city of Binghamton and is now working on the Castleton Bridge reconstruction on the New York State Thruway.
James Slaughter, Lancaster’s Transportation Division Manager, visited Adirondack Academy on Jan. 12 and encouraged students to have a plan for their future and to consider the possibility of an internship.
Following an interview process, selected students will work with Lancaster during the school day. Students will be on job sites every other week and attend classes at Adirondack Academy on the alternating weeks. Student performance will be evaluated by the company and internships will continue throughout the year based on student interest and success.
According to Slaughter, Lancaster already employs many BOCES graduates from around the state, and students who successfully participate in internships often get offered full-time employment following graduation.
One Adirondack Academy student is already participating in the new internship program, and the school is looking forward to more participation.
Will Vicciarelli, from Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, is working in Lancaster’s vehicle and equipment maintenance shop in Richmondville.
“I love it, I’ve learned a lot already,” Vicciarelli said.
Vicciarelli already had an interest in engine repair and he regularly helps friends and neighbors repairing lawn mowers, snow blowers and other small engines. He says he feels fortunate to have the opportunity to work in a professional shop with experienced mechanics.
Slaughter said the internships offer students the opportunity to begin learning a trade – but they learn more than that.
“What you really learn is life,” Slaughter said.