HERKIMER, N.Y. – Ford Motor Co. field service engineer James Tomaso visited seniors in the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES automotive technology program April 12 to share his background and discuss the students’ potential career paths.
"I hope they understand the opportunities that are available for them," Tomaso said. "I think they need to know the automotive industry isn’t what it was typically stereotyped as. It’s a highly skilled, highly technical field. There are many opportunities."
Students in the Herkimer BOCES automotive technology program spend half of their school day during their junior and senior years of high school at Herkimer BOCES. They learn how work on vehicles and do repairs to cars right at BOCES.
Automotive technology instructor Craig Miller invited Tomaso in to give the students another perspective on the career field, and it helps them to hear someone else saying what he repeatedly tells them.
"I think what they got was a greater appreciation for their opportunities," Miller said.
Tomaso discussed his path to working to Ford – including working at gas stations and automotive shops from Little Falls to Colorado, graduating from the two-year automotive program at Morrisville State College and tenting as he traveled across the country to live in Colorado for a year, so he could get the in-state tuition rate to attend the University of Southern Colorado.
"There’s all sorts of ways to get into the industry," he said. "It’s a huge, huge industry, and it needs people."
Miller chimed in and told the students they have the ability to succeed.
"If you made it through two years with me, and you walk across the stage, your opportunities are endless," Miller said. "You just have to go for it."
Tomaso answered questions from students, gave them Ford flashlights, talked about some of the fun things he has been able to do as part of his job and offered the students advice such as knowing the basics, finding a specialty skill and working confidently.
"Don’t be afraid to do it," he said. "Then if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask."
Tomaso told the students that working hard now at education and jobs is like putting a dollar in the bank to earn interest.
"If you invest now, it will pay in the long-term," he said.