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Palmesano: Middle Skills Gap Program In The Works

February 7, 2022

Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C,I-Corning) and his colleagues in the Assembly Republican Conference recently unveiled the final report of the Assembly Minority Task Force on Learning for Work. The report introduces the Conference’s ‘Learning for Work Program’ designed to mitigate the ‘middle-skills gap’ that is hurting the labor force and help provide a career-ready pathway for students to pursue their future goals.

The main points detailed in the Conference report include but are not limited to the following:

• Passing legislation enacting the “Learning for Work Program,” which is designed to train high-school aged New Yorkers for local jobs (A.8426, Walczyk);
• Rebranding BOCES as Career Prep Centers and providing funding for marketing and signage replacement (A.8320, Barclay);
• Increasing the aidable salaries of CTE teachers, supervisors and other employees of a BOCES program that is an approved state expense for state School Aid;
• Enacting the Community College Merit and Mobility Scholarship program to incentivize attendance at state community colleges; and
• Providing additional transportation options for students interested in BOCES, including expanding programs within a student’s own school to ensure greater access to work-based learning programs.

“I am proud of the work that came out of this task force. Pursuing a college degree is great for many students but is not a one-size-fits-all path. We must take action to make our educational system flexible to meet the needs and goals of all students. We need to provide opportunities to enhance skills and provide a successful career pathway for those students who may wish to pursue a career-ready path, rather than a college-ready path.

“Our Learning for Work report will help enhance the BOCES experience, remove the BOCES stigma, remove bureaucratic barriers and expand and enhance educational opportunities to better prepare our students for a career path that will assist them in meeting their future career goals to help them be successful in life.

“I urge the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to take the recommendations in this report seriously so we can implement them in a timely manner and provide more opportunities so all students can work toward achieving their future goals,” said Palmesano.