SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Onondaga Community College will celebrate its 56th commencement ceremony Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. in the SRC Arena and Events Center.

Nearly 700 students will be eligible to receive their degrees for their coursework completed in either the fall 2018, spring 2019 or summer 2019 semesters.

Among these graduates will be 19-year old William DeJesus who got to OCC through the P-TECH program in the Syracuse City School District.

The P-TECH allows students to simultaneously get their high school diploma, and Associates Degree at OCC.

It also gives these students priceless workplace experience in high demand industries.

For William DeJesus, that’s been at United Radio in East Syracuse.

Right now DeJesus is troubleshooting motorcycle radios, and on days he has class goes to campus in the afternoon.

“I have friends that graduated high school last year that are struggling to figure out what they want to do, what colleges they want. I have one friend that is jumping from college to college,” DeJesus tells NewsChannel 9.

By the time DeJesus earned his high school diploma at The Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central he was already halfway to an Associates Degree.

He says, “It sent me on a pathway, whereas I won’t be struggling to figure out what I want to do.  I always knew I wanted to do something engineering or technical.”

Michael Fabery is the Operations Manager at United Radio and has mentored and worked with DeJesus.

Fabery tells NewsChannel 9, “They have all the skills that are needed, whether it’s inventory, whether it’s computer entry, managing their workloads, those are the things we try to teach the kids.”

DeJesus was able to finish his degree in one full-time year at OCC.

Once he graduates he will become full-time at United Radio.

“Whereas most of my friends are working part-time in fast food or grocery stores and I’m actually starting a career,” 

Click here for more information on Syracuse P-TECH.