A new class is in session at Telescope Casual Furniture in Granville.
“I actually love it and wish schools would incorporate more stuff like this,” said Ryan Figueroa, a senior at Granville High School.
Figueroa is one of 17 students in grades 9-12 enrolled in a hands-on program inside Telescope’s factory.
“This is school preparing kids for life,” said Terry Wheeler, Granville High School’s business teacher.
He’s hoping it helps students recognize all the different opportunities there are for them after high school.
“We concentrate in high school, in New York State, on the kids that are going to college,” he said. “Well, college is only one path.”
The program is popular. School officials say there are too many students interested to accommodate this year, but that the program is already evolving.
Telescope churns out high-end outdoor furniture, exposing students to a real working experience in manufacturing. Throughout the school year, students will delve into various departments, including metals, powder coating, polymer cutting, and sewing.
“Some people aren’t meant for college, and learning these new skills [is] going to be good,” said Alexis Taylor, a senior.
Employees will advise students along the way one-on-one.
“Watching our employees interact with these kids and how excited they are and how enthusiastic they are to show them, and to help them have a better future or to have better direction when they leave high school has been incredible,” said Kait Warren, Telescope Casual Furniture’s marketing manager.
Warren and her mom, Kathy Juckett, say partnering with the school was a no-brainer.
“I’ve always said that it was more important to me to get the right person with the right motivation, with the right drive that wants to be here, and we’ll teach them anything they want to know,” said Juckett.
And that someone could be a student like Figueroa, who right now has his sights on underwater welding.
“Depending on what I see here, that might change,” he said.