North Fork Advisory Board looks to add Shelter Island

JULIE LANE PHOTO New Shelter Island Director of Guidance Martha Tuthill wants to expand opportunities for job shadows, internships and mentoring to students here.
New Shelter Island Director of Guidance Martha Tuthill wants to expand opportunities for job shadows, internships and mentoring to students here.

What has morphed from a Southold School-Business Advisory Board into the North Fork Business Advisory Board is now ready to open its arms to Shelter Island students and business owners.The idea of expanding the board to include Shelter Island came from Martha Tuthill, who has been active with the Advisory Board and has been in the Greenport School guidance department for a number of years.

She is about to take her post on Shelter Island as director of guidance and told the group at a meeting in Greenport today that her expansion plans.

It’s an idea Shelter Island Superintendent Leonard Skuggevik endorses, sayingwhen Ms. Tuthill was interviewed for the job here, one of the reasons he wanted her onboard was her involvement in creating opportunities for students to get involved with local businesses.

The group first started in almost 15 years ago, with the purpose of bringing students together with local business operators through job shadow days, internships and various other opportunities to learn about career paths.

Among the goals of the group has been to stop the brain drain — educating students on the East End who then take their knowledge and abilities to other cities and states. It further clarifies the needs of local businesses so students who want to pursue their careers here know how to prepare themselves to qualify for jobs.

Rather than have the three high schools — Southold, Mattituck and Greenport — competing with one another for resources, the districts joined forces a few years ago, expanding programs.

Among major companies actively participating in various programs through the Board are Eastern Long Island Hospital, Peconic Landing, Mullen Motors, the Town of Southold through its Youth Bureau, Police, Finance and other departments and Special Projects Coordinator Phillip Beltz, North Fork Animal Hospital, Miller Environmental, Attorney Patricia Moore, Geek Hampton, Brookhaven National Laboratory and Times Review Media Group.

A number of small businesses have offered job shadow opportunities and sent representatives to speak to students or participate with them in mock interviews.

Each fall, there’s a mentor breakfast that brings students together with Peconic Landing residents who had careers in various fields that might interest the students. It’s an opportunity not only to meet potential mentors who can help guide a student into the world of work in specific fields, but to informally discuss the pros and cons that can help a student to determine if that’s a path to be further pursued.

Greenport hosts an employability skills program run over three days where students get guidance in writing resumes, participating in mock interviews and learning from business operators everything from how to dress to how to best present their skills to a potential employer.

Similarly, Southold and Mattituck have individual programs for their students to explore the working world.
All three schools have participated in the DECA program, both regionally and statewide. That program enables students to develop business skills through competitions that involve everything from on-the-spot presentation of products to tests of various business skills.

Ms. Tuthill, who was instrumental in starting a DECA program in Greenport, said she is hoping she might implement the program here on Shelter Island.

That, too, went with endorsement from Mr. Skuggevik, although he cautioned that there is always competition for which clubs the school can afford to sponsor.

“But I’m open to any and all ideas,” he said.

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