Voices

As workforce development evolves, childcare shall lead

By ROSALIE DRAGO // At a recent Long Island Regional Development Council meeting, co-chairman and Long Island Association President Kevin Law earned rousing applause when he said, “Childcare is not a mother’s problem or a parent’s problem – it is an economic-development problem and our region’s problem.” As a workforce-development professional, a parent and a Long Islander, this was good to hear. It’s tempting to see childcare as a value-add, especially now. Current job market…

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In apple cider, a hard life with sweet rewards

By AMBROSE CLANCY // You know cider, right? That’s the stuff in plastic jugs you buy at a supermarket or a roadside stand out east when the leaves begin turning in October. When you’re home, you take a taste and begin wondering how to spell “hyperglycemia” so you can immediately Google it. It goes in the refrigerator, and before Thanksgiving has turned cloudy and vile. Right? No, you don’t know anything about cider. Americans are…


Giving the LI innovation economy plenty of STEAM

By ROSALIE DRAGO // Employers in technical trades lament the loss of “shop” class and its hands-on maker skills. Business owners complain that candidates possess minimal work experience. But there is tremendous work-readiness power in STEAM – enough to fuel a 21st century workforce. Beginning in elementary school, education institutions are using STEAM (for science, technology, engineering, arts and math) to contextualize core classroom subjects in a way that aligns with skills required by the…


To ensure college success, level the HS academic field

By HARRY AURORA // Education is the cornerstone of success, a college degree is paramount and K-12 schools are committed to doing everything possible to help students excel at the college level. It appears to be working: National high school graduation rates are among the highest they’ve ever been. But accommodating for the wide range of variables that exist for every individual student is never easy, and requires significant resources that may not be available…


To keep talent coming, tech must fill its own pipeline

By PHIL RUGILE // Workforce development in tech? Not as easy as it sounds. My workforce muse, Rosalie Drago, has in this very column touched on the concept that apprenticeships belong in every industry – but in fact, they’re still viewed mainly as benefits only in trade occupations. You often hear of someone “apprenticing as a plumber.” But when talking about a software developer getting on-the-job training as a “junior” developer, the term “apprentice” would…


With jobs waiting, Island must master apprenticeships

By ROSALIE DRAGO // Apprenticeship is one of the most powerful weapons we have to advance Long Islanders, regional business and the local economy. It’s time to deploy it. At a time when many employers report a lack of skilled workers, employer-led training – which develops workplace skills based on the latest industry practices, while incorporating related classroom instruction – is being promoted and supported on federal and state levels as a fix for widening…


Books, online learning key to battling ‘summer slide’

By HARRY AURORA // Longer days, warmer weather and the approach of summer vacation excite students, but many educators and parents worry about the toll that long break from school can have on academic gains students worked hard to achieve. Dubbed the “summer slide,” the time spent away from the classroom can be especially hard on students in lower socioeconomic areas that lack the same opportunities as their wealthier counterparts (access to private tutors, summer…