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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Help Wanted - Capital Region and NY State "Unprepared"

A new report says unless steps are taken immediately, New York is not is going to be able to fill the jobs of the future  especially in the five-county Capital District, where high-tech businesses are growing. Graphic courtesy America's Edge.
A new report says unless steps are taken immediately, New York is not is going to be able to fill the jobs of the future especially in the five-county Capital District, where high-tech businesses are growing. Graphic courtesy America's Edge.
May 21, 2013

ALBANY, N.Y. - A report released in Albany today says there's a "skills gap" in New York State, especially in the Capital Region, where high-tech jobs are growing. It says there are too many "unprepared students and unprepared workers." The study, prepared by the business group America's Edge, says seven in 10 jobs created in New York from 2008 to 2018 will require some type of formal education beyond high school, and more than 80 percent of the fastest-growing and high-wage jobs will require at least a two-year degree.

According to the group's New York state director, Jenn O'Connor, if nothing's done, big trouble awaits.

"If current education and labor market trends continue, we'll have about 350,000 middle-level-skills jobs that will go unfilled," she stated.

Mid-level skills are those requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree. The report urges support for implementation of "college- and career-ready standards and evidence-based high school models."

O'Connor said she recognizes that the state's teachers and the education department are at odds over how Common Core testing is being implemented and applied.

"We believe in linking and aligning the Common Core standards to real-world expectations and relevant work experience," she stated. "We understand that it certainly has been divisive, and we're interested to see how it continues to roll out."

David Rooney, senior vice president of the Center for Economic Growth, said businesses want to see graduates who have not mastered only hard skills.

"It's also the soft skills: Can I make sure that I am on time? (That) I'm ready to work when I arrive at an organization? That I've got the proper communications skills and the basic skills I need to be successful in the workplace?", he asked.

How did New York get in this situation? Rooney offered his view.

"Well, I think we didn't necessarily talk well enough to each other and communicate well enough with each other, whether that's business with education, education with other government leaders," he stated. "Basically we need to improve the collaboration."

The report says it'll be tough to create a pipeline of skilled workers when 23 percent of high school pupils fail to graduate on time, only 37 percent of public school pupils graduate "college and career ready," and too many drop out.


Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY