Karyn Winters, a 2003 graduate of Pavilion High School, is the new director of the Business Education Alliance.
She replaced Beth Kemp, who is now director of the Business Improvement District.
Winters gave her first department review to the Human Services Committee of the County Legislature yesterday afternoon and shared some of the things she will be working on in the coming year.
Among the highlights: improving the process for students to apply and get involved in the job shadow program; an expanded agriculture summer camp; continued work with schools in Le Roy, Byron-Bergen, and Oakfield-Alabama, on a career agriculture program; a program in Le Roy and Byron-Bergen on adult life skills; and a program already in Elba and expanding to Alexander to assist students with developmental disabilities on job skills.
The summer ag camp, Winters said, probably won't change this year, because of the short time left until it starts, but she would like to expand it beyond a veterinary camp working with large animals, to include crops and tractor maintenaince as well as other ag-related skills.
"Agriculture is such a changing industry," she said, noting how technology is playing an ever bigger role in farm operations.
She said students today are much more attunded to what is available in the job market and are looking beyond just big dreams, such as, "I want to be a star in the NBA," but are more interested in making practical decisions. Part of her job, she said, is to help them explore career opportunities close to home, both what is available now and what is coming in the future.
Not all kids, she said, are looking to take the college path.
"There are students who love the hands-on experience with BOCES who are making great livings and they’re not digging themselves out of the hole of student loans," Winters said.
Winters was previously with Junior Achievement in Rochester and spent a year-and-a-half working in Wyoming County in prevention education.
She went to college to become a teacher and is education certified, but her career has taken her on the nonprofit route, which she said she's passionate about.
That passion, a passion for helping kids, and the fact that the BEA job was in her home county all attracted her to the position, she said.
"I often think there are a ton of resources for urban and suburban areas, but often times, rural communities kind of get forgotten," Winters said. "It’s nice to be able to provide summer camps and exposing kids who don’t normally get a ton of exposure to different careers. Here’s what’s available to you right in your back yard, so that’s a really nice thing."