Leaders from the business, education and government sectors came together in Malta Tuesday morning to preach "collaboration." As YNN’s Matt Hunter reports, it's all in hopes of preparing the region's workforce for the competitive global economy.
MALTA, NY – Heading into his junior year at Ballston Spa, David Ferretti's future seemed wide open.
"I never really knew what I wanted to do, so I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to broaden my horizons," Feretti said.
After several months of classes in the Clean Technologies and Sustainable Industries Early College High School Program at Hudson Valley's Tec-Smart campus in Malta, he says he has a clearer sense.
"The teachers are so passionate and it really makes me passionate about a certain thing," Ferretti said.
The program, which includes more than 70 students from 12 local school districts, allows juniors and seniors to simultaneously earn high school and college credits while studying topics like nanotechnology and the environment.
It's programs like this business leaders say are essential for training the workforce for careers at local high tech companies.
"'Cradle to Career' is really important,” said Daniel Pickett, the CEO of nfrastructure, which has an office up the street from Tec-Smart in the Luther Forest Technology Park. “The earlier we can get children involved and students involved, the better off we're going to be."
"As far as I'm concerned, that is going to be the template and the model for a successful future for K-12 education," Ballston Spa Central School District Superintendent Joseph Dragone said.
ExpanDing educational opportunities was the key topic at a special conference at Tec-Smart this week. As leaders from the business, education and government worlds came together, many stressed the need for investment from all three sectors to reach that goal.
"The answer is not to build a better "20th Century" school experience, the answer is to innovate and create 21st Century schools,” Dragone said at the conference Tuesday. “Collaboration across sectors will do that."
According to local educators, New York's programs are already well ahead of most rival states, but with skilled graduates seeking local jobs from all corners of the world, experts stress now is no time to rest on our laurels.
"This is not one of those things where you demark a finish line,” NYSERDA President and CEO Francis Murray said. “It's a continual, ongoing process that will challenge us every day."
"I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd have an opportunity such as this and that's why when I got it, I jumped on it," Ferretti said.
For more information on the Clean Technologies and Sustainable Industries Early College High School Program visit Tec-Smart’s official website. An information night is scheduled for Tuesday, March 19th.