OXAC Work-Based Learning Program

2017-2018 employer breakfast, year-in-review

Since I’ve worked at BlueOx I’ve learned so much, I can’t even tell you. This program has given me the opportunity to get my foot in the door, learn what happens in an office setting, and what to expect as I move along my path in the business world. It helped me solidify my future. -- Mark Drewniak (Class of 2018) with David Emerson, an owner, BlueOx Energy Products & Services
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A Look Back

At the third annual Oxford Academy Work-Based Learning Program Employer Breakfast, students and employers met at school to celebrate the program’s achievements in the 2017/18 school year.


The Oxford Academy Program led by certified coordinator/teacher Craig Tefft is a General Education Work Experience Program registered with the New York State Education Department, and is intended to help students’ entry into the workforce through a combination of classroom and work site learning. Classroom instruction includes soft skills that will be useful in any career or workplace, with targeted lessons presented by community leaders.


This year special guest instructors included Tracey Porack who presented Strive®, NBT Bank’s Financial Literacy Program and awarded certificates of completion, Oxford Academy Board of Education member John Godfrey who worked with students on the job interview process, and Mike LaCroce and Stoyana Petkova of the Wild Owl Cafe who talked about goal setting and work ethics.


Since its inception three years ago, Work-Based Learning at Oxford Academy has received support and input from Superintendent Shawn Bissetta, Business Administrator Joe Gugino, High School Principal Mike Waters, the school district’s Board of Education, Commerce Chenango, and IC² (the Innovative Community Collaborative of Greater Chenango County, a local partnership of schools, business, municipalities, and organizations).


Most notably, the Oxford program has benefited from grants from the R. C. Smith Foundation for student wages. The Foundation’s contribution made it easier for new employers to enter the program and serve as mentors to student workers, some of whom were starting their very first jobs through this program.


According to Tefft, this year’s achievements include placements for 18 students in 12 workplaces; they worked across 38 weeks for a combined total of 3,519 hours worked. Not included in those statistics are those students who at the invitation of their employers will be working through the summer and beyond.


This program will resume in the fall. For more information, contact Craig Tefft at ctefft@oxac.org.

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In my opinion, funding this program is one of the best if not THE best use of the funds expended over the years. First off you have the dedicated staff that got this started and nurtured it and brought it along. Kevin Gilroy (founding program Coordinator) played a fundamental role in getting it started and having the R.C. Smith Foundation involved. You have Craig Tefft who has taken over after Kevin retired. You have administrators committed to starting and continuing the program. We’ve had a group of outstanding employers who welcomed students and provided a supportive environment to help them learn about the world of work and what real life is like out there. And last but not least you have students who have really taken some risks to come into a new program and learn what it’s like to be in a workplace. I commend you all. -- Gary Brookins, a Director of the R.C. Smith Foundation, speaking at the 2017/18 Work-Based Learning Program Employer Breakfast

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Success Award Winners

Two graduating seniors received the inaugural Work-Based Learning Program Success Awards: Mark Drewniak, employed by BlueOx Energy Products and Services, and Bailee Marotta, employed by the After School Program. Both students received $250 given by an anonymous donor.


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Going in I wasn’t expecting to learn as much as I did. I learned to make a resume, do public speaking, and learned more about what careers to get into,” she explained. “I wasn’t expecting all those things. And when it comes to the working environment, I didn’t realize how different each workplace is. Besides learning how to balance three plates on my arm, I also learned that talking to people in the workplace is different from talking to your friends. -- Jourdan Pinney

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Work-Based Learning Program Employers, 2017-2018


Employer partners for the 2017/18 school year included:



Students working at these locations successfully completed job interviews, and benefited from both employer mentorship and continued work supervision from Mr. Tefft.
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