For the past several years, IT services has provided job shadowing experiences for students enrolled in the computer technology program at the Finger Lakes Technical and Career Center (FLTCC) of Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES. The students shadow members of the IT support staff to get a real-world view of IT support positions. This year, a student from Geneva High School will spend an hour a day with IT staff every school day throughout the year as a for-credit internship.
According to Kelly McLaughlin, director of operations and technical support at HWS,”This is the first internship where we will have a student every day for the whole school year; I’d like to be able to offer more such experiences in the future.”
IT services has worked with Wayne ARC and WFL-BOCES on shadowing projects for several years. Recently the department also helped craft an opportunity for a young man through Happiness House who had an interest in the field.
“We’ve been creating opportunities like this for the past four or five years. And each experience is customized to the student in length and type of work they shadow or perform. Some have lasted just a day and some have been for the whole summer,” says McLaughlin.
According to Charlie Mentis, computer technology instructor with FLTCC, students generally shadow in the spring for two, three or four days, depending on the student’s schedule and that of the staff member he or she is going to work with. In general, one or two students participate a year. His students have also interned at Geneva Hospital, the VA Hospital, Ontario County Information Services, ITT Goulds Pumps, Construction Link, and G.W. Lisk Co., Inc., among others.
“Kelly and all the staff at Hobart and William Smith are always accommodating. My students always report back with a positive experience,” says Mentis. “Sometimes they see what has just been talked about in class in action. Also, past students have observed the help desk in operation, staff responding to calls, imaging of workstations, and troubleshooting the network. My students have helped set up workstations and do simple configurations.”
One of the first interns from FLTCC was hired full-time by HWS following graduation and worked at the Colleges for several years before moving out of the area.
“I hope that HWS will continue to support the computer technology program at FLTCC in the future because shadowing is a valuable component in a high school student’s education,” says Mentis.
Troy Horton, the vocational evaluator with Wayne ARC, notes the shadowing opportunities fill a specific need for their organization and the individuals it serves. Wayne ARC provides a service known as a Community Based Work Assessment, the objective of which is to assist individuals in exploring career opportunities that are realistic given a condition or disability that they have been diagnosed with, to include their aptitude, interest and potential.
“Hobart and William Smith Colleges IT services department has provided, on multiple occasions, the opportunity to explore careers in the information technology field,” says Horton. “The staff of the IT department have embraced this experience with sincere enthusiasm providing individuals the chance to ask questions, shadow and, in some instances, perform some work sampling. This opportunity has been of great value to these individuals and has provided them with the knowledge necessary to make an informative decision related to their vocational related goals.”
The collaboration is part of the Geneva 2020 initiative launched between the Geneva School District and HWS.
In the photo above, Charlie Mentis and students work on a computer in the FLTCC classroom. Photo by Garrett Robinson, FLTCC student from Marcus Whitman.