The Future of Education Part II

hey guys a quick note before we get started today this is part 2 of an episode we're calling the future of the classroom examining public schools you should start with part 1 if you haven't yet will be referencing different parts of that discussion in today's half of the episode enjoy from Finger Lakes this is inside the FLX I'm Josh Dara so in part one we heard from the people inside schools who are advocating for change assessing that change in real time and looking for new ways to help students grow whether it's applying new technology or finding new ways to assess learning the goal is to empower and educate the next generation preparing students for what's next is tricky work though there are two primary paths for a student going through the public school system option number one go to college or option number two do something other than go to college for many years option number one was the only path guidance counselor's worked with students on leading up to graduation there were exceptions like BOCES programs which offered a technical training and an alternative path to graduation and this is something I can speak to personally I graduated in 2009 from one of the high schools focused on in this piece both Part one and Part two and was an average student attending college was the only path pitched from the moment I entered high school until the day I graduated C at the time both these programs or programs that used work experience to guide technical training were reserved for students who struggled to learn in the traditional classroom simply being average you know good enough to get into a community college but not good enough academically to get into most four-year schools didn't typically win entrance into these technical programs in the high school setting and they're really important these programs are developing the next generation of electricians plumbers carpenters mechanics entrepreneurs and and much much more as we talked about in part one there has been a dramatic shift in the last decade more programs exist now than ever before there's more collaboration between schools and local businesses for more work-study opportunities and students of all types are being educated about these programs to help them make the best choices for their future but that collaboration is complicated if you're a public school how do you know or justify where to place these programs and what students to get involved the economy of the Finger Lakes is is much unique as it is competitive so the broader question we need to answer to understand this issue is what does the Finger Lakes need more of to answer it we caught up with Karen spring Meyer she's the executive director of Finger Lakes works right now employers are looking for everyone you know in our region advanced manufacturing health care we know tourism is a big industry I just drove by some companies on five-and-twenty they have help wanted signs out there so there is definitely employment out there for those that are interested as Karen points out the region has a strong tourism industry that lends itself to a lot of entrepreneurship it means a region ripe with opportunity to build the next generation of business owners and innovators we'll get back to that in a moment but the region has a lot of other strengths too like advanced manufacturing companies throughout the region are looking for employees but those perspective employees can't just walk in off the street there is a need for some training much of which can be learned from an area community college like Finger Lakes Community College or FLCC for short so we'll go back to the educational gap I think we're in the process of filling that and I think we're making great progress I think the school superintendents by attending Finger Lakes works with their hands understand that those are great jobs the program Karen is referring to Finger Lakes works with their hands is one of those intended to bridge the gap it's an entry-level day-long experience it exists in partnership between Finger Lakes works in area schools farms businesses and more it helps show students jobs that otherwise fall into the alternative path the one that doesn't include a traditional four-year degree we work with the guidance counselor's very closely we take the guidance counselor's and students on tours of companies so that they know what's going on so I think we've made great progress there I think the gaps continue to be training programs that are developed to meet the needs of the employers through the Finger Lakes Community College we've developed two programs in advance machinist trained and Vance manufacturing machinist training and it's actually held on-site at GW liske in Clifton and one at ITT Gould so once in the fall and once in the spring so that collaboration you didn't see years ago and another collaboration I think is so important is working with economic development forty years ago economic development was bricks and mortar it's no longer it's all about workforce and I can say that in my four counties we work very closely with the economic developers actually some of our business services reps go on site with the economic developers to meet with businesses and as soon as an economic developer knows what a business needs and its workforce related they call us but don't think that just by creating these programs students will come to the rural Finger Lakes in droves Karen understands this and while optimistic wants to ensure that folks and economic development stay proactive on retaining young people well the optimist side of me is going to say yes but the pessimist side of me says we have to create that pipeline we've got to talk to those young people about these careers I think we've lost a whole generation of folks in advanced manufacturing because no one wanted to send their child to work in a dirty manufacturing floor right but that time is over look at ITT goals they've always got science out there so I think if we can really work with the students and the young people in school to understand the career opportunities right here in the Finger Lakes that that might not be such a crisis but that's that's not a prayer that's not the present and in the present we have to look at those folks who are unemployed and give them the skills give them the tools they need to meet those jobs that are in demand does well Karen is saying there is important workforce development and economic development professionals have two major tasks ahead of them preparing students for a possible transition into the local economy as worker and developing ways to continue education beyond high school who don't go to college this is how the workforce will be redeveloped locally after decades were spent funneling students into the traditional college path option number one which were mentioned off the top and if you recall from part one of this episode it fits in like the missing puzzle piece as school administrators like Bob McKinney and Stephen szalinski pitched the continued learning mantra in public schools continuing education outside the classroom so that a strong workforce can be developed here in the Finger Lakes we have our Five Finger Lakes works career centers where those that are unemployed or looking at changing careers can come in and get services so we work with those folks to provide them the skills that they need to meet those jobs that the employers are in demand we provide interviewing techniques resume workshops personal skills for success which is you know the soft skills that we talk about which a lot of employers are looking for we provide training opportunities those folks coming through our Career Center so I refer to it as like we like to prepare the product for the employers for those that are coming through our career centers but on the flip side for those employers that are looking it's difficult we try to work with the school districts we work very closely with the 26 school districts in our four County area to help prepare the pipeline because we've got to get to the young people so they know what jobs are available it's not all about a four-year degree you can have a great job with more than a high school diploma and less than a four-year degree healthcare advanced manufacturing there's a lot of jobs out there Karen says that one of the most gratifying things she's witnessed in her professional career is the transitional changes taking shape in public schools the support her office has received in recent years from areas school districts is proof positive that a genuine interest to prep students for more than college exists within the classroom yes and they are again earlier I referred to the fact that I've been in this business a long time so I've seen great change with the education system we have three events three hands-on career events for high school students in grades 9 through 12 and they're awesome and most of the schools participate and our major one is right here in Seneca Falls at the lop farm called Finger Lakes works with their hands and it's hands-on career fair and advanced manufacturing and skilled trades and we have about 800 students every year come out and experience that and you know anecdotally I know students have gone into those careers because of that number wise it's hard to follow students when they're in school but that's a great opportunity to expose the students to those careers and the teachers come and two years ago all the superintendent's came so I think we are making progress our other two events are in health care and that's at the Finger Lakes Community College and Hopewell and we have an agricultural career day there's a three site tour we go to the Cornell Agrotech formerly known as the New York State Experiment Station we go to a dairy farm and we go to the LCC viticulture Center and the students get to experience hands-on activities and we just had that and we had about 250 students so how did all of these conversations begin when did people like Karin's start communicating with administrators in local school districts one person had a particularly significant role in that effort and that person is Senator Michael Nozzolio he represented the Finger Lakes for more than 30 years in Albany and after retiring from politics set his sights on continuing that effort which he often made a legislative priority our Finger Lakes region has many resources and is being discovered that more and more people are traveling to the Finger Lakes coming to the Finger Lakes to visit to participate in the Ecco tourism the wineries the crab breweries the cider ease the great ambience of the lakes that tourists are coming here in record numbers what the mission was for locate Finger Lakes is to put that identity of the Finger Lakes for business development if you've googled the Finger Lakes and Finger Lakes businesses what you would see are up until the creation of locate Finger Lakes you would see discussion about wineries about bed-and-breakfast is about tourism which is great it's a very important business in our region but what we wanted to do is in order to promote business we believe that it's important to showcase the businesses that are here and to highlight the innovation the creativity the involvement of those businesses what they do not just locally not just regionally but across the state and nation if that the world he said the retaining young people is absolutely essential to the long-term success of the region that's why after retiring he began focusing on locate Finger Lakes that's an initiative meant to bolster the prominence of the Finger Lakes and the business community outside the region the idea being that to generate new business or to generate new worker or to generate new workforce participation people need to know about the businesses already thriving care as much as they need to know about the opportunities for training going to be a large part of it then present and future generations are going to want a livable place to grow work and raise their families that livability is extremely important that I've read a lot of economists and their analysis and certainly New York is challenged tax structure regulatory environment I've been a harsh critic of the lack of attention to job development and business development by the policies of our state what we need to do short of seeing them all wholesale removed I don't think that's going to happen in the near future what is going to happen in the near future though our people are going to decide to live in a place that is extremely enjoyable to live that will enhance their lifestyle we'll be able to avoid to our commutes each way as you see in the some of the major cities including Washington and Los Angeles where you see the schools that fabric of the communities have extremely high standard which is the sense of here in New York State and particularly the Finger Lakes a place that's beautiful a place that's not challenged by certainly we have challenges with the weather but lack of water is that one of our challenge when you see droughts that lead to forest fires that lead to communities burning up as we saw in the Napa Valley this year let's take who wants to live in a place that has those kinds of challenges as opposed to the Finger Lakes which certainly has maybe challenges but it after all can you expect a student or adult to stay in a place if they're led to believe there aren't quality opportunities available senator Nozzolio saw an opportunity here and is acting on it one initiative involving students driven in large part by Senator Nozzolio is known as the yay or young entrepreneurs Academy Latoya Collins who leads this program at Finger Lakes Community College walks us through what the program looks like and how it came to be is that locate Finger Lakes took a special interest in revitalizing the economy in the Finger Lakes region and they learned about the a program young entrepreneurs Academy and so they were able to bring the program to Finger Lakes Community College as well as Cayuga Community College in order to offer students in grades 6 through 12 the opportunity to develop real businesses and help contribute to that economic vitality it's intense over the course of months students in high school are tasked with building a business from the ground up and in some cases they have translated into legitimate bona fide businesses when those students exit and think about that students in the program are developing life skills that will allow them to better upon graduation whether they go to college or not and if they want have a money-making option in front of them as soon as they leave the program here's the student perspective and where we'll leave this episode Megan who is a freshman at the time of this interview move through the a program it's something minders Academy and the Seneca Falls Central School District have embraced with incredible results Megan though describes that experience in whole there was a lot of pressure at the beginning I would say but Latoya helped us a lot throughout the program and everybody was basically at the same pace I feel like you didn't know that but like when you got to the class you felt better and like you were reassured and it was like I said a rough at the beginning but as he went on it definitely got easier and I would say the business plan was the hardest part of it but once you figured out like what your business was and how you're going to get around it it got easier and being a freshman in high school and playing sports and everything there was a lot of time that I spent with this program too so the time effort was a lot but it was definitely worth it see these programs are exciting and everything we've learned in both parts of this episode paint a bright picture for what public schools might look like in the future students will likely see more technology less tests and more opportunities to learn in the field than ever before it's not only a reason to be excited for students but really optimistic about the future of our very own public schools inside the efflux is available on Spotify Apple podcast YouTube and the Finger Lakes app you can see past episodes of the show by visiting nature made Clingerman Joe Deaver key Steven szalinski and Amy Hubbard for making this episode possible we'll be back in two weeks with another story in the meantime leave a review if you're listening to us on one of the podcasting platforms I mentioned off the top it helps new listeners find us thanks guys you

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