What does workforce preparation mean to Saratoga County?

Earlier this week, fifty-one students graduated from the Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School (ECHS) at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART building in Malta.

Wednesday’s graduates studied in an innovative learning environment where they worked in teams – as they will in college and as they will in most workplaces. They learned about nanotechnology, carbon nanotubes, nano TEC-SMART Graduates 2016sensors, biofertilizers and and were asked to tackle complex problems and find creative solutions using modern science. They learned to be the thinkers and problem solvers of tomorrow. Students also had an opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with higher education and regional employers. They are prepared to transition into key industry sectors like energy efficiency, renewable energy, and advanced technology including semi-conductor manufacturing. (And, parents essentially get to pay for three years of college instead of four.)

My, how high school education in the Capital Region has changed!

There was a time when the region’s biggest export was our skilled workforce. Upstate New York and the Capital Region graduated thousands of students every year, yet we were suffering a loss of population and skilled workforce because there hadn’t been enough job opportunities available to keep our educated youth in the region. During the planning of the Luther Forest Technology Campus – where TEC–SMART is located – local residents actually came out to speak in favor of the new development. They, along with Capital Region leaders, had the foresight to chose industrial and educational development because it would mean the promise of a new job ecosystem for the region. Their children and grandchildren would have an opportunity to stay in the region after they graduated.

Fast-forward to this week and we’re seeing another result of that investment realized: an impressive group of young talent graduate with the skills they need to continue their education to work in the high-paying jobs that are now here in Saratoga County.