Westbury, NY— Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Councilwoman Viviana Russell announced the opening last week of an automotive vocational school in New Cassel, an educational facility administrators and others contend will be a great asset to this newly-revitalized hamlet.
The grand opening January 13 of the Rushmore Avenue, Westbury campus of Career Institute of Health & Technology comes at a time when New Cassel, , a 1.5 square mile, hamlet in the southeast corner of North Hempstead, is approaching the home stretch of a multi-million dollar revitalization.
“I am truly honored to be here today to witness the opening of what I believe will become before too long an asset to this community,” said Councilwoman Russell, a long-time New Cassel resident. “This area is in dire need of programs like this.”
The program offers two tracks, automotive service and auto body repair. The automotive service component has been up and running since 2009, officials said, while the auto body component is a new addition to the program. Presently, 60 students have enrolled in daytime classes, which run from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm weekdays. Another 30 attend evening classes, which takes place from 5:30 to 10:30 pm weekdays. Each component takes eighteen months to complete, at which time students are presented with a diploma.
“I am very sure that as our students learn they have an alternative to college and as the automotive industry grows more technical, many of them will take advantage of the opportunity to carve out a great career for themselves and their families,” said Westbury Schools Superintendent Constance R. Clark-Snead.
The program is also ideal for career changers or those who have been laid off, officials pointed out.
When he got laid off from his job as a point of purchase display technician about a year ago, Gregory Copes of Bay Shore said he told himself: “I have to make sure this can’t happen again.”
So the 37-year-old father of four enrolled in the automotive technology program at the Rushmore Avenue, Westbury campus. Not long after, he said, he landed a job there, making sure tools and equipment are in organized and in working order and help incoming students settle in.
It’s perhaps the best career move he’s made, Copes said. “This will give me an opportunity to stabilize life for me and my family,” he said.
Councilwoman Vivianna Russell (right) attended the opening of New Cassel’s automotive vocational school