EAST SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A brand new OCM BOCES program is paving the path for its students. In a partnership with Tracey Road Equipment in East Syracuse, the kids are getting hands-on experience with heavy equipment and diesel technology.

NewsChannel 9 spoke with one student who has had his eye on Tracey Road ever since he took a tour of the facility as a Cazenovia Central School District student. So when BOCES came up with a brand new program where students can get hands-on experience, Jesse Wood and many others were quick to sign up.

“BOCES looked like a great opportunity, I came into this and it really kind of sparked my interest. So maybe mechanics, operating, heavy equipment, really anything,” Wood said.

Five days a week, two different groups of BOCES juniors head to East Syracuse to have a quick classroom session and then get to work in the shop.

The goal is for this program to serve as a pipeline, and those with Tracey Road say they are hoping to hire two students each year. They’re looking for people with passion, drive, and knowledge for the job.

“There is a shortage, there’s a big shortage here. We have about 80 technicians in our locations and we’re looking for more all the time,” said Kevin Williamson, the General Manager of Tracey Road Equipment.

Since they’re just starting out, the students are sticking to the basics. They’re working on a heavy-duty truck, learning about the parts, and safety protocols.

“We realized that students have an interest in this field. right? But what is interest without having the opportunity to have hands-on learning opportunities, and be able to learn from the professionals,” said Eric Comtois, the Director of Career and Technical Education and Innovative Education at OCM BOCES.

Once the students graduate from high school, they can either go to college, or get a job in the field.

“I would love to go and once I’m done with high school, work with Tracey Road, further my education, and one day be working in the shop over there with everybody else,” Wood said.

Right now, this opportunity is only for juniors, since it is a two-year program. In the future, they hope to expand on it, right as Tracey Road is expanding its facilities, too.