New York Company Gives Lucrative Alternative to High School Students

An upstate New York construction company is giving high school students a path to making money right out of college that doesn't involve going to college.

Harrison & Burrowes Chief Operations Officer Chris DiStefano appeared on Fox & Friends and spoke with Brian Kilmeade about the company’s offer to the students.

“We’ve been associated with the local BOCES program here, that covers three counties here in upstate New York,” DiStefano said, referring to the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, which has been around for over 70 years. “And we’ve been able to take in high school students that are juniors going into their senior year and give them 200 hours worth of work at our main office in Albany here. They get some hands-on experience and there’s opportunity for them to come on with us full-time after graduation.”

Questar III BOCES pairs up apprentices with builders and other companies that need hard-working individuals. At Harrison & Burrowes, workers can be paid over $35 an hour while heavy equipment operators can take in over $47 an hour.

Kilmeade asked DiStefano if the negative stigma attached to those who skipped college is beginning to go away. DiStefano replied, “I think in this day and age college isn’t for everybody — and with the rising cost of tuition, we can provide a great opportunity for those folks that the path to college might not be the best path for them. When they come on, they can come on at 18 years old, they make a steady wage and have a sustainable career going forward.”

DiStefano made the excellent point that anyone who works for his company won't be faced with mass amounts of student debt like college students do. “We’ve been in business for 42 years and we’ve had a lot of folks come on when they’re 18 years old; when they walk away they can walk away with a great pension; they’ve made a lot of money over the years and they don’t have that student loan debt that’s so prevalent these days.”

Salaries at DiStefano's company are determined by the prevailing wage rate system determined by the Department of Labor. Their salaries are between $65,000 to $75,000 a year plus another $30,000 to $40,000 in their pension.

“Obviously we’re a family-owned business, we’re going into our second generation; we’re trying to develop the next workforce generation to continue our success forward into the next handful of years,” he noted, continuing, “It’s a challenge to find qualified people, but I think we’re taking it very seriously and doing all the things on our end to make a sustainable future for Harrison & Burrowes.”

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