Hudson Valley Pathways Academy Students Flourish Thanks to Partnership with Local Manufacturing Companies

Hudson Valley Pathways Academy Students Flourish Thanks to Partnership with Local Manufacturing Companies

Ulster BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) students, known as young scholars, are gaining a wealth of hands-on experience as they serve internships with local industry leaders and manufacturers. Recently, the students worked with AMETEK Rotron, a manufacturer located in Woodstock, to tackle a real-world business problem. Joining the HVPA students from Ulster BOCES in the challenge was a team from the Ellenville Central School District’s new P-TECH program, which was started in 2021. 

With factories in California, Mexico, and India, AMETEK Rotron is the industry leader in the design, development, and manufacture of high performance, high reliability AC and brushless DC fans, blowers, and cooling systems. HVPA at Ulster BOCES is a Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), which offers a six-year pathway of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) study. In addition to leading the young scholars to earn an associate’s degree from SUNY Ulster, the pathway provides them with workforce readiness skills and connections that will help put them first in line for available positions with industry partners.

For this particular workplace learning challenge, Christopher Rodrigue, Director of Operations for AMETEK Rotron, tasked the young scholars with using “green-light thinking” (brainstorming) to solve an operational problem in his local facility. In any given month, he explained, AMETEK Rotron moves thousands of subcomponents, fans, blowers, and motors throughout the facility as part of the assembly and test process. Each month, thousands of dollars are lost due to damage sustained during these moves. The costs associated with damage in transport come in the form of the need to rework or scrap items, or to delay shipments to their valued customers.  

AMETEK Rotron asked the young scholars to work as consultants to help solve this problem by developing new and innovative ways to move products around their facility. The solution, the young scholars were told, needed to be repeatable, accessible, and able to accommodate many different sizes and shapes of parts. 

The HVPA young scholars worked together and presented Rodrigue with various ideas and applications to solve his operational conundrum.
According to HVPA Principal Learner Amy Storeski, principal at the innovative school, internships help answer a critical question all students have—namely, why do we do these challenges? “Through the work-based learning opportunities, our industry partners are demonstrating to the young scholars why what they are learning in high school is applicable in the real world. In this environment, they have an authentic experience where they can refine their technical, creative, and presentation skills and find their passion,” she said. She likened the P-TECH model’s partnerships between high schools, colleges, and employers to a three-legged stool, with each leg playing a critical role in preparing students for their next stage.

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