‘I wanted to better my job, better myself’



NIAGARA FALLS — Tyler Shields has worked at the Niagara State Park Commission since he was just 16 years old. 

Over the years, Shields has gotten the chance to come into his own as a CSEA member and is now vice president of our union’s Niagara Frontier Parks & Recreation Local. 

Already familiar with our union’s many member resources, Shields recently completed the NYS & CSEA Partnership for Education and Training’s Applied Skills Trades Program’s electrician training along with four of his co-workers at the Niagara State Park Commission.

“There’s not many places where you go to work and they actually pay you to go to class,” said Shields. 

Currently in his position as Park Worker 3, Shields does a little bit of everything, including overseeing the maintenance crew and staffing the toll booths at the park entrance during the busy months. 

While he’s always felt confident in his ability to perform his assigned duties, completing the program has given him a greater sense of security. 

“I want[ed]to do it to better my job, better myself,” said Shields. “I know how to do stuff now that I did not think I’d ever know how to do.”

Shields said he’s exceedingly glad that that he completed the electrician program because it made him much more comfortable with something previously foreign to him. 

“Electrical work scared me because you can hurt yourself doing it, but now I feel more than comfortable doing a broad amount of things with electrical work,” said Shields. 

Shields praised the program because he not only furthered his existing skills, but developed a new skillset that he can take with him through life.

“I went in there raw; I knew nothing,” said Shields. “I came out with a lot more than I thought I was going to leave with.”

— Madison Ruffo


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