Looking back while moving forward
Ronald Reagan had just been elected President when Paul Ferrise originally got his start in career education. That was 35 years ago. Ferrise has since worked his way up the ladder, to the extent that he’s served as one of Branford’s senior administrators for a little over a decade now. Branford has undergone a number changes during that period, but Ferrise says that his level of commitment has remained very much the same.
“It still means a lot whenever I get to see one of those light-bulb moments,” Ferrise explained. “You know, that moment when you see the ‘light’ go on in a student’s head, and you just know that he or she has gotten it.”
As a Regional Director stationed at Branford’s flagship campus (in Connecticut), Ferrise has played an integral role in students’ lives since May of 2004, when he arrived at Branford as a Campus Director. Over the years, Ferrise has gained an ample grasp on Branford’s mission and values, and he uses them to guide him whenever it comes down to important decisions.
“Branford endorses a system that focuses primarily on the students,” Ferrise said. “It’s a school where you can actually see the transformation; you can watch the dedicated students succeed.”
A career transition
Ferrise was raised in the suburbs southwest of Philadelphia. After graduating high school, he spent several years earning his Masters Degree in English Literature from St. Bonaventure University in New York. Armed with an education, Ferrise embarked upon a career in teaching. But it wasn’t long before he made the leap into career training, and, specifically, a three-decade run working with institutions like Branford. Ferrise understood what differentiated career training from the average curriculum, and he used that difference to inform his approach to the work.
“We all have to be trained for our careers,” Ferrise explained, “but for the students who enroll at Branford, this is their career. That being the case, we want to encourage every student to become like a sponge, taking advantage of all the opportunities that are available to them. We want students to get involved and pursue new activities; to let us know how we can help.”
Persistence is king
Having entered his second decade at Branford, Ferrise offered the following piece of advice for any students interested in one of Branford’s many career training programs: “Never give up. Focus on your goals. Stick to them. Don’t let anything get in the way of what you want to achieve.”
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