Technical training provider shares career advice with seniors

Universal Technical Institute is latest in series in post-high school explorations at  Rye Lake Campus

 presenter and counselor address studentsMichael Cruz asked two senior-class students to hold each end of a tape measure and put their fingers on the 22-inch and 67-inch marks. If the tape measure represented their lifetimes, the span between those marks would be the portion they spent working at the jobs they would one day hold.

"You've got 40 years of work ahead of you after high school," Mr. Cruz said. “Does time fly when you're having fun? Because it absolutely crawls if you're miserable."

Mr. Cruz addressed seniors at Rye Lake Campus Middle-High School Nov. 2, sharing information not only about the breadth of programs UTI offers but the kinds of considerations 17-year-olds should be thinking about as they map their futures. His presentation included discussions about the cost of living in different parts of the country and what the earnings from a part-time high school job look like compared to the potential of a professional role. 

 students complete assessment There are 285 million cars in the U.S., he said, and only 1.7 million technicians to service them. That represents opportunity for anyone interested in the field. 

He asked the students to complete a brief career aptitude test to identify strengths and areas where they could consider focusing. He demonstrated the importance of piecing together your interests, ambitions and talents to make the best career choices

"You're not going to have all the answers," he assured them.

Universal Technical Institute has 18 locations in nine states, including one nearby in New Jersey. Besides transportation, UTI provides training in a range of technical fields and boasts dozens of industry partnerships.

presenter and two students hold tape measure

Guidance Counselor Cristina Tompkins organized the visit at the request of a student who also studies Automotive Technology at Southern Westchester BOCES's Valhalla Careers Campus. She reminded students they could request future visits based on their interests. Westchester Community College recently helped facilitate a college application event at the campus, and a future visit by Mercy College is planned.

Principal Eric Ford said events like this are helpful to students in considering what their futures could look like and what opportunities and pathways are available to them. Whether it's in college or in a specialized trade, the skills they develop will serve them for a lifetime, he said.