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Nassau BOCES salutes Long Island business leaders Industry partners celebrated for their support of career and technical education

Elyana Gonzalez (left), '13, with Physical Therapy Aide & Rehab Medicine teacher Michelle Fattore.

Elyana Gonzalez (left), an alumna of the Freeport UFSD and graduate of the Barry Tech Class of 2013, with her former Physical Therapy Aide and Rehabilitation Medicine teacher Michelle Fattore. 

The students and educators of Nassau BOCES Barry Tech honored nearly 100 local business leaders at the Industry Advisory Recognition Brunch. The annual event, held at the Joseph M. Barry Career and Technical Education Center, is an opportunity for Nassau BOCES Board members, administrators, faculty, staff and students to thank these invaluable mentors for their ongoing guidance and support. 

Barry Tech — the Nassau BOCES flagship CTE (career and technical education) high school, located at the center — hosted a broad spectrum of distinguished guests. Among those in attendance were: the District 5 Nassau County Legislator; an Air Traffic Controller from John F. Kennedy Airport; the Commanding Officer of the Nassau County Auxiliary Police; top administrators from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority; a number of healthcare professionals from Nassau University Medical Center; trade union representatives, including Iron Workers Local 40 and 361, and Plumbers Local 200; and a number of local business owners, company managers and department heads.

Elyana Gonzalez, an alumna of the Freeport UFSD and graduate of the Barry Tech Class of 2013, delivered the keynote address at the brunch. Ms. Gonzalez, who studied to become a physical therapy aide at Barry Tech, earned her bachelor’s degree from SUNY Cortland and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in occupational therapy at the New York Institute of Technology. 

“I didn’t really know where my future was heading,” said Ms. Gonzalez. “Barry Tech and its generous industry partners gave me the head start I needed and helped pave the academic path for my future studies. Everyone here pushes you to succeed,” she said of Barry Tech. “They make it a point to connect you to outside, real-life experiences. They truly care about you.”  

Nassau BOCES CTE collaborates with more than 800 Long Island businesses, giving students the significant advantage of on-the-job work experience under the supervision of industry specialists. The agency’s industry partners help students to develop the skills necessary to compete in their chosen career fields. In addition to providing real-world work experience, industry partners regularly visit classrooms to offer their expertise, invite students to tour their facilities to learn about their respective businesses, pair students with seasoned mentors for job shadow days, and offer internships and paid employment opportunities. 

The Industry Advisory Recognition Brunch has been a Nassau BOCES Barry Tech institution for nearly 25 years. It’s a way for administrators, government officials, community leaders and CTE alumni to honor the agency’s industry partners. Guests are given a red-carpet welcome by Barry Tech student ambassadors, awarded with plaques and certificates thanking them for their contributions, and treated to a delicious brunch prepared by Barry Tech Culinary students. They are also given a comprehensive tour of the state-of-the-art facilities at the Joseph M. Barry Career and Technical Education Center. 

Business leaders are invited to join faculty and guidance counselors in an exclusive conference to discuss the coming year’s curriculum. Industry partners are invited to offer their input on the agency’s curriculum and instruction, ensuring that it is up to date with the most current industry standards.  

“Barry Tech is all about building careers, sharing knowledge, developing skills and helping high school students figure out their paths in life. We cannot do this without the support of our industry partners,” said Work Experience Teacher Coordinator Randi O’Moore. “They are crucial to the success of our students. Local business owners, managers, supervisors and seasoned employees share their expertise with our students so that they can make informed decisions to guide their lives.”