Ulster BOCES means different things to different people. For Dylan Berryann, it was a place that provided him with a real-world learning environment that allowed him to achieve his goal of becoming a technician in the heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) industry.
While he was a student at Kingston High School, Dylan earned good grades, but at a young age, he recognized that he had an innate talent for hands-on work. As a child, Dylan spent time shadowing his grandfather at his HVAC job, which influenced his decision to follow in his mentor’s occupational footsteps. “We were close,” says Dylan about his relationship with his grandfather. “We did everything together, including him taking me along on jobs.”
Dylan’s enthusiasm about the HVAC occupation didn’t go unnoticed at his home school, where his guidance counselor recommended he attend an Ulster BOCES high school visitation trip to explore the program’s offerings. The yearly event brings Ulster County sophomores in to tour the Career & Technical Center, visit career-specific classrooms and labs, and talk to instructors and students. “I looked at it and thought it was interesting. I signed up and I really enjoyed it,” he says.
Dylan remembers he looked forward to getting into the shop to master some of the skills he needed to be successful as an HVAC technician. Some of the training he received at Ulster BOCES included soldering, brazing, and cutting and threading black iron pipe. While learning about installing, maintaining, and troubleshooting HVAC systems, he also began participating in the Ulster BOCES Capstone work-study program, where he spent four out of his five school days at Jeff Lowe Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning in Kingston, where he is now employed.
“I would have gone to [Ulster] BOCES my whole school career if I could have,” says Dylan. He explains that the HVAC program put him into the work environment he wanted to enter when he graduated, as opposed to spending classroom time sitting behind a desk.
Business owner Jeff Lowe says he is pleased with the working relationship his company has with the Ulster BOCES HVAC program. Through that partnership, the company has also hired Career & Technical Center HVAC graduate Ryan Nace.
“Dylan has become a full-time employee, a successful graduate of the Ulster BOCES HVAC program, and an important part of our growing team,” explains Lowe. “He was recommended for the Capstone Program and we began to mentor him in 2018. He was immediately able to assist our technicians and installers in the field.”
According to Lowe, the collaboration between his business and Ulster BOCES is a win-win arrangement. He explains that students get paid by the company they are working for, but they also receive feedback on their communication skills, planning and organization, professionalism, performance, and responsibility. Currently, Ulster BOCES has 13 students in the Capstone Program who are working in Ulster County businesses.
According to Dylan, his favorite part of the job is going to a commercial call. “They are bigger and take a little more time and attention to detail,” he explains, adding that he is very satisfied with his decision to attend Ulster BOCES. “It was the start of my career— a career that I enjoy.”
- Career & Technical Education (CTE)