VP-TECH student Zack Kleist poses outside by a tree

Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Valley Pathways in Technology Early College High School student Zack Kleist will graduate in June, but he already has a job at CTM Corp. in Frankfort through connections made at VP-TECH.

CTM Corp. recently reached out to VP-TECH looking to hire someone for a mechanical inspector/quality control position. Kleist, a senior of Dolgeville Central School District, submitted his resume, was subsequently interviewed and then hired on the spot. He will also be continuing his education at SUNY Polytechnic Institute this fall.

“I am so thankful for everything the VP-TECH program has taught me and all of the wonderful connections it has made for me to start off my career early on in life,” Kleist said.

VP-TECH focuses on technology, project-based learning and real-world work situations. Students can spend four to six years in the program to earn a Regents diploma, an associate degree in quality assurance from Herkimer College for free, a certification in advanced manufacturing and connections with local businesses.

CTM Corp. has been a local business partner for VP-TECH since the school launched in September 2015. VP-TECH is made up of students in ninth grade through 12th grade from Herkimer BOCES component school districts. CTM Corp. has accommodated VP-TECH students for job shadowing tours and guest speaking experiences.

“It makes me happy to see companies like CTM seeing the value a program like VP-TECH can provide to their business,” VP-TECH business teacher Andrew Carpenter said. “This is why our business partnerships are so important to us because we rely on them to help us make sure that students are prepared for 21st century careers. Zack's recent accomplishments are proof that this model works and can be valuable to both students and businesses alike.”

Carpenter also spoke about how much Kleist has achieved through VP-TECH.

“I can say I speak for not just myself but all of the other teachers at VP-TECH when I say how proud we are of what Zack has accomplished,” Carpenter said. “He has shined both academically and professionally while in VP-TECH and because of this will graduate in June with his Regents diploma, certificate in advanced manufacturing and an associate degree in quality assurance from Herkimer College.”

Kleist said VP-TECH helped him be ready for college and a career. “There are so many different things the VP-TECH program has prepared me for,” Kleist said. “The VP-TECH program gave me the opportunity to earn my two-year associate degree and helped me decide what my career choice for the future would be early on. A special thanks to all of the teachers at Herkimer BOCES that have helped me to start off my life in the workforce more prepared than most students and Andrew Carpenter for showing me the great job opportunity at CTM and a special thanks to [Herkimer BOCES Advanced Manufacturing instructor] Michael Cimo for helping me prepare for my future career as a machinist and for all the life lessons he has taught us.”