Dutchess BOCES administrators and representatives from various Dutchess County organizations gathered together on October 19th at the Career Technical Institute (CTI) to discuss ways to expand and promote workforce development.
Attendees included Assistant Dutchess County Executive Ron Hicks, via phone, Dutchess Community College President Peter Jordan and Council of Industry Vice President Harold King. District Superintendent Jason Schetelick talked about the importance of dropping the stigma surrounding vocational education and the possibility of offering externships, temporary training programs in a workplace where students can gain experience. “It’s something that’s going to require a lot of education,” the superintendent said. “That’s with our kids, that’s with our parents and families.” BOCES Board Trustee Gully Stanford echoed Schetelick’s comments about vocational education, adding guidance counselors should recognize that placing students in these programs is just as valuable as sending them to Ivy League universities. “That in many ways it can be a greater success particularly if they go onto the associate’s level after CTI,” he said. Sanford praised the CTI programs for preparing students in numerous career fields, including nursing. “We’re almost like their launching pad as they begin to acquire skills which they can actually put to work,” Stanford said. Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Louise McLoughlin noted how important it is that all county organizations are speaking the same language when it comes to workforce development. “We should know what other people are doing and what their thought processes are,” she said. “How do we get on the same page?” Hicks agreed with McLoughlin and suggested a countywide strategy regarding workforce and education be enacted, following the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board becoming a committee of the Dutchess County Economic Development Advisory Council. “Our thoughts are let’s have one organization that participates in that countywide strategy,” Hicks said.