State Department of Environmental Conservation operations supervisor Amanda Raymond prepares to cut a board as part of her work at the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Northville Sign Shop.

NORTHVILLE — CSEA member Amanda Raymond worked almost nine years as a part-time park ranger, but wanted permanent, full-time employment.

She jumped at the chance for such a job when an opening came up in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Northville Sign Shop.

Three years later, Raymond is working as a conservation operations supervisor and has honed her skills in carpentry through on-the job training and completion of a multi-year, hybrid Applied Skills Trade Program offered through NYS & CSEA’s Partnership for Education and Training.

“Carpentry is a good trade to have, especially at DEC, where so much facility maintenance involves carpentry and building,” said Raymond. “(CSEA DEC Local President) John Lefebvre told me about the program through CSEA. He saw I was trying to get experience through the job and encouraged me to attend.”

While Raymond was initially anxious about attending the class in Albany with other participants, she said that everything soon came together for her.

“By the third day, it was like we worked together our whole lives,” said Raymond. “Outside of carpentry, there were classes to help build interpersonal skills, which I really enjoyed, and a math class that was a good refresher.”

The class helped Raymond develop her skills and boost her career opportunities.

“I knew that since I didn’t attend college that I would need to learn on the job and that is what I did when I started, working alongside experienced carpenters,” said Raymond. “This program expanded my opportunities and growth in areas outside of carpentry.”

Raymond credits CSEA for being able to develop her skills. 

“I don’t think people are aware of all the opportunities that CSEA offers for training or certificates,” said Raymond. “People should really take advantage of these programs. They don’t realize how lucky we are to have these opportunities through our union.”

— Therese Assalian


About Author

Therese has been working as the Capital Region Communications Specialist since 2002 handling all facets of internal and external communications for the region. Therese started her career at a Madison Avenue Public Relations firm and held several positions in public relations, marketing and event planning in corporate and non-profit roles in New York and Pittsburgh prior to moving to the Capital Region in 1999. Therese holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Communication Studies and is also a published freelance writer on travel, food and the arts.

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