Central New York, Education

Cortland Program Sparks Ideas for New Career Paths

The OMC BOCES program in Cortland gives high school students an experience they can't get in a normal classroom. (c) 2017 Frank DeLuca

By Frank DeLuca CORTLAND, N.Y. (NCC News) – Students in the OCM BOCES welding program can take a different path than attending college.

The program offers high school juniors and seniors a change in scenery from the usual classroom experience, but also but also preparation for a job in a workforce desperate for employees. According to the website, students can find entry level jobs like:

  • Welding technician
  • Structural welder
  • Maintenance welder
  • Assembler tack welder


More advanced careers are available with additional training.

If students don’t want to be professional welders, the program has other benefits.

“I have a lot of farm kids. This is a rural community, and there’s a lot of kids who either work on a farm or live on a farm, or they’re just outside-type kids who might have a shop. They might really enjoy working on cars,” Welding Instructor Kevin Auyer said. “If you break your plows out in the field, you can fix it. The local welder is going to charge you 100 or 140 bucks an hour to come fix your plows. You can do it yourself.”

Auyer also said that some students enjoy the more artistic side of welding.


The Cortland program’s total enrollment (juniors and seniors) has tripled since it began just five years ago. The growth has led to a proposal of doubling the number of welding booths to about 20, with the hopes of bringing more students in. That proposal is still pending board approval.

To find out information on enrolling in the program, or to view what other programs OCM BOCES has to offer, click here.

A student sands down a piece of metal he has welded. (c) 2017 Frank DeLuca

The quality of the weld is tested under extreme pressure. (c) 2017 Frank DeLuca