Picente: Partners Join Oneida County in Continuing Teacher Training Program to Develop Future High-Tech Workforce

Building upon the success of his collaborative effort to develop a world-class home-grown workforce, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. today announced that the SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition will return for a second summer. Picente said the project, which helps local teachers inspire and educate students in key skill areas needed by local high-growth employers, is supported by the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Workforce Investment Board, Mohawk Valley EDGE, BOCES and National Grid. “County government brings diverse groups together to develop innovative solutions that move our community forward,” Picente said. “I want to salute and thank the partners who are contributing resources and joining Oneida County in investing the future of our economy, and that of our children.”

The SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition program offers an in-depth, interactive course taught by industry professionals to train local educators in the most effective way to introduce to their classrooms the rapidly expanding career fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). The program connects local educators with training in practical applications of course material and presents both new concepts in career exploration and simplifies the connection between academics and the workplace.

Due to the success of the program, this year the county and its partners have expanded from the previous years by over 60 participants. Also, for the first time teachers from Kindergarten through 6th Grade and Middle School teachers are also included. The program includes a tour of CNSE in Albany which will be guided by SUNYIT Acting President and former vice president for academic affairs and chief academic officer at the Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Robert Greer.

“When we offered this last year, teachers talked about new enthusiasm and new energy. In the past year, we know they have passed that along to their students. This program is growing and is building a strong bridge between Oneida County and CNSE as we prepare for Quad C at SUNYIT and the Marcy Nano Project.” Picente said.

Also attached: Quotes from Participating Partners.

Barbara Henderson, Vice President for Programs and Community Initiatives at The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. said, “The Foundation is pleased to be supporting, with our partners, a second year of SEMI High Tech U.  This initiative fits well with our 25/25 Goal - Increasing the percentage of adults in Herkimer and Oneida counties who have bachelor’s degrees to 25 percent by 2025.  We know that economic development and education are inextricably linked; having a better educated quality workforce that fits the needs of current as well as future employers is critical for our regional sustainability.”

Alice Savino, Executive Director of the Workforce Investment Board said “As Executive Director of the WIB and as a resident of this community, I know that the children of the Mohawk Valley must be prepared to fill jobs in today’s high tech workforce and also be equipped with a foundation for the jobs that have not yet even been created.”

"With the growth of the high technology industry in our region, it is important that our community has a prepared workforce to meet the needs of a 21st century economy," said Shawna Papale, Senior Vice President of Mohawk Valley EDGE. "The SEMI High Tech U program trains our educators in new ways to integrate industry based science and technology into their classrooms, we are taking the necessary steps to make sure our students are leaving school with the skills they need to succeed."

District Superintendent of Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES Howard Mettelman said, “Our region has many outstanding teachers who want to give their students the edge in the highly competitive fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This workshop is an opportunity for teachers to receive first-hand information from business and industry experts so that they can integrate important concepts into their classrooms while still fulfilling curriculum requirements.”

“National Grid is thrilled to work with the Workforce Investment Board on such a meaningful program that delivers a positive impact on the lives of students and educators alike,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid regional executive of Central New York. “National Grid looks to support initiatives like this to help inspire the next generation of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs and to look at innovative solutions to help our customers and enrich the communities of the Mohawk Valley."