Glad to see student hiring celebrated

The BOCES school district in Glens Falls is trying a good idea — a “Signing Day” for high school seniors who accept jobs in their chosen fields to begin after graduation.

The signing ceremony is based on what is often done for a top-tier high school athlete when he or she commit to attend a college and play sports there, usually in exchange for a scholarship.

Sports are wonderful, but fleeting. In almost every case, the careers these vocational school students have trained for will long outlast athletic careers, and will usually do more service for other people.

Once everyone is past their 20s, the auto mechanic, hairdresser, nursing assistant and construction worker should be able to hold their heads high next to the star athletes they once went to school with.

Again, this is not a knock on sports. They give inspiration to millions and are still worthy of praise — but they get that praise. The skills and achievements students get from BOCES are also hard earned, but rarely recognized. It’s good to see them get some time to shine, too.

The Glens Falls event also showcased local companies hiring local graduates. It’s great to see a community building and maintaining pipelines by which children can grow up and be trained for important local jobs that pay living wages and can often lead to much more. It would be great to see more of that kind of career pipelining here in the Adirondacks, where a recent demographic study by Protect the Adirondacks showed again that the average age is much higher than the state or national average, and the number of children is much lower. People are retiring here, but we would do well to recruit and retain more young people.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: In general, our society needs to focus more to vocation schools and community colleges. Four-year colleges are, of course, still important, but the “college for every student” idea has warped our outlook and led many of our young people to think BOCES and community college are lower forms of education. The unemployed college grad swimming in tuition debt probably knows better, as does the 30-something owning his or her own business or managing a team of professionals.

By the way, our local BOCES school, the Adirondack Education Center in Saranac Lake, will hold its graduation at 9 a.m. Monday at North Country Community College’s gym in Saranac Lake.

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