Belmont, NY – May 11, 2023 – CA BOCES Animal Science instructor from the CTE Center at Belmont, Cassandra Ploetz, was recently named both regional and state SkillsUSA Advisor of the Year.

The Skills USA program features competitive events showcasing the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. Key areas of competition include communication, construction, heavy equipment operation, welding, animal sciences, health sciences, hospitality and tourism, human services, information technology, leadership, manufacturing, and STEM. Competing students are led locally by staff advisors who help students understand the framework of the events and prepare for competition.

Ploetz has been teaching Animal Science at the CTE Center at Belmont for seven years and has been the Skills USA Advisor for the past five years. Of the SkillsUSA program, she said: “There are a lot of great things about being the Skills USA Advisor…but the real magic and greatest impact comes in seeing students who have a talent, guiding them to competition category that best suits them as individuals, and then watching them bloom. They may not always be a medal winner, but they grow and mature into better citizens. SkillsUSA offers this group of up-and-coming students a place to feel and be successful and celebrated.”

She also noted the many benefits of the SkillsUSA program for students. “Students benefit from Skills USA in so many ways and each is different from one student to the next,” she said. “I get phone calls and text messages from teachers and parents saying,” I cannot believe my student actually did that” or “This has been a huge and transforming experience for my student”. For many, getting out of their comfort zone is an enormous piece. Other students find out from competing with other students regionally and state-wide that they need to keep pushing their skills to the next level. The benefits of Skills USA are truly endless.”

Jim Schifley, CA BOCES Assistant Superintendent for Career and Technical Education, said that he is proud of the recent recognition. “Our staff at all centers put in many hours and provide lots of support to our CTE students as they prepare for the Skills USA competitions,” he said. “It is a true honor for Cassandra to be recognized in this capacity.”

As the regional leader in education services, CA BOCES offers state-of-the-art programs for learners of all ages and abilities as well as cost-effective shared services for 22 component school districts. CA BOCES empowers students to achieve their maximum potential by offering a wide variety of innovative programs and support that include special education, career and technical education, adult and continuing education, technology support, and instructional support services. To learn more, visit: