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LIMBA Prog CHANGE Assenblyman Dean Murray
October 12, 2012 @ 12:00 am EDT
Our speaker this morning was Assemblyman Dean Murray from the 3rd district. Mr. Murray led off with the governor’s initiative known as "NY Youth Works" program. The program is designed to help create jobs for young people that are lacking saleable skills. Employing tools such as BOCES and training available through industry the goal is to make more productive lives for this segment of the population.
School districts in the past provided ample funds to train vocational skills, but as their budgets tightened up they reduced the funding that they provided for training students. BOCES gets most or, perhaps all, of their funds from the school districts that they serve. If that money doesn’t come in the entire system is threatened.
This training would be a formidable task in the best of times, but with diminished resources it is infinitely harder. "You can’t abruptly change the course of young people’s lives," stated assemblyman Murray, but that is the job that needs to be done.
Unfunded mandates, for schools and localities were also discussed. Murray’s argument is that, while well intended, the mandates should be created and paid for at the level of government that will implement them. Ideally a school district can create a mandate they will decide on, and pay for.
In the discussion that ensued after Dean finished his opening remarks the audience had a number of observations and suggestions that were helpful. Representatives of the Longwood school board and Dean Lucera from BOCES suggested a public private partnership. Lucera spoke of a two page article in Newsday that delved into the training that was available through BOCES and as a result businesses contacted BOCES to help them with the training they were looking to implement. That influx of inquiries was temporary, and chances are if there was sustained information about programs the demand for BOCES services would remain high.
Why not create a section of the newspapers that listed skills where manufacturers and service companies would be willing to participate. Advertisers could possibly support that resource. LIMBA can create a hyperlink to BOCES training programs.
The consensus in the room was that manufacturing companies are the underpinning of the economy, and the training of skilled crafts people is essential to a vibrant manufacturing region. It is true that Long Island has a very diversified economy, but manufacturing is still important. Upstate that case is even more compelling.
Another topic was the politics of change. Murray was complementary of governor Cuomo and his ability to motivate lawmakers to cooperate. The bigger problem politically was not so much between democrats and republican, but difference in regions of the state. Each region has its own needs and they are often in opposition to each other.