You could say 2019 Schalmont High School graduate Cole Cookingham really “dug” his time at Capital Region BOCES.
The Heavy Equipment/Commercial Construction graduate has a passion for using heavy equipment, but that is not necessarily his career plan – at least for now.
Cookingham will attend Hudson Valley Community College in the fall for a business administration degree and then potentially pursue a four-year degree in the same area.
“I have always been into digging and construction and stuff, but I just want to change it up and see if business administration is for me. If not, I will always have it to fall back on,” Cookingham said in the days prior to graduation.
Cookingham said a Career and Technical Education has given him a great safety net in life and many valuable skills that other teenagers can’t even imagine – such as how to operate a backhoe, grader or dump truck.
“Many people would have no clue on how to do the things we learned in heavy equipment and construction,” he said.
He also said BOCES has provided him with many “soft skills.”
“I have learned how to work with other people of different backgrounds and ideas. I have learned how to find a career and how to get a job, these are all great skills to have,” Cookingham said.
Cookingham was one of about four-dozen students in the two-year Construction/Heavy Equipment on the Schoharie Capital Region BOCES Career and Technical School campus during the 2018-19 school year. He and other students in the program learned the knowledge and skills required to enter the construction and equipment operator industries or pursue further education in college or technical school. They learned everything from equipment operator and maintenance skills to how to construct a building while earning National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) certifications, which are recognized nationwide by contractors and employers, as well as OSHA and first aid certifications.
“The class was great and the teachers are very nice and supportive,” Cookingham said.