CAZENOVIA — In September 2023, Onondaga-Cortland-Madison (OCM) BOCES will launch a new two-year Engineering Technology Career and Technical Education (CTE) program that will allow high school students throughout the region to study in a classroom at a Marquardt location Switches, Inc., and work side-by-side with industry professionals at the company’s North American headquarters in Cazenovia at 2711 Route 20 East.
According to a Jan. 19 press release announcing the partnership, Marquardt is a total solutions provider for the automotive, off-road and residential industries and is expanding into the defense, aerospace, drone and medical markets. It offers prototype development, testing services, equipment building and automation, product assembly and supply chain management, all under one roof.
Designed for juniors and seniors, the new engineering technology program aims to introduce students to engineering concepts and practices, prepare them for college and careers in the field, and generate a workforce for a rapidly growing high-tech industry.
“At Marquardt, we strive to inspire local students in our community to be the next generation of innovators and problem solvers,” said Tracy Schaumberg, head of marketing communications for Marquardt, USA. “This partnership was started between OCM BOCES and Marquardt as a way to help students get out of the classroom and into real life with the latest technologies and processes manufacturers are using in the industry today. This provides students with an early look at the career paths that are available and that they may wish to pursue in the future. Additionally, manufacturers can provide students with mentors who can offer valuable advice and guidance on how to succeed. Marquardt and OCM BOCES are working together to help bridge the gap between education and industry.”
Students in the program will spend half of their school day, about two and a half hours, at Marquardt five days a week during both their junior and senior years. The other half of each day will be spent at the students’ home schools. Students will be transported to and from the facility each day.
“The two-year program allows students to build foundational training as well as work in specialized areas of interest and active projects at Marquardt,” said Eric Comtois, OCM BOCES Director of CTE and Innovative Education.
According to Schaumberg, the main focus of the two-year program will be to launch a product for an electric vehicle company. While working on the project, students will be able to collaborate with several departments at Marquardt, including engineering, sales, program management and operations.
“Students will experience the entire product engineering process with a real-life product that Marquardt is helping to develop and manufacture for an electric vehicle company,” Schaumberg said. “This includes focusing students on several areas of development and engineering, the planning process, and finally seeing how we put the product into mass production.”
Classroom lessons will be taught by a certified OCM BOCES CTE instructor.
“The classroom is right inside Marquardt,” Cazenovia Central School District Principal Christopher DiFulvio said. “That’s what makes this such a unique and exciting opportunity for students. They will see what the engineers are doing and even work with them on the process.”
Comtois explained that the OCM BOCES CTE instructor will be responsible for guiding students, teaching engineering theory and serving as a liaison between BOCES and Marquardt.
“The teacher will facilitate learning that is appropriate and tailored to the practical experience available on site,” he added. “BOCES will support resource and technology needs in collaboration with Marquardt. In partnership with Marquardt, the program’s design is to build interest and passion for the evolving field of engineering, as well as provide students with authentic learning opportunities in a dynamic environment.”
According to DiFulvio, there are college credits associated with the OCM BOCES CTE programs, but the exact colleges and number of credits have not yet been announced.
Comtois said to maximize opportunities for students in the first year of the program, about eight to 10 first-year (junior) students from across the region will be enrolled starting next fall. The number of students at Cazenovia High School specifically has not yet been determined.
“We are currently collecting the number of students who are interested in enrolling in the program from all our constituent areas,” he said.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, OCM BOCES and Marquardt held two open houses for prospective students and their families at the company’s Route 20 facility.
Learn more about OCM BOCES at ocmboces.org. Learn more about Marquardt at Marquardt-Us-Partners.com (Cazenovia) and Marquardt.com/us (International).