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Panel mulls workforce issues

Arbetter followed up with questions that pressed the panel to consider whether the region's students are mostly aware in areas of technology, and whether the officials think there needs to be a stronger push for students to be educated in a more technology-geared way.

Do you think many students, she asked, drive past the Nanotechnology College and ask, "What the heck is in there?"

Jennings replied, "This state needs to be more competitive " bottom line."

Jennings said there are two major issues in urban America: the first being how to change the template of urban education, and the second being how to revitalize urban communities.

"We're not like suburbia," he said. Jennings also said he is hoping some of President Barack Obama's 2009 Stimulus Package will be able to help Albany in these two areas.

Van Wormer, who answered Arbetter's next question, which asked what he was going to do to attract younger generations to the area, first responded to Jennings' response, saying that the distance between the Capital District's suburban and urban areas is minimal and that it is important that that thought is taken to mind so that the urban and suburban areas can bind together to achieve workforce development that will help all of the area's residents.

We have a lot of residents that work over in Albany, he said, and a lot of them work in Schoharie County.

"We really will do much better if we begin to partner together," he said.

Switching gears, Arbetter asked Breslin, "How can we leverage downstate immigrant populations to help us upstate?"

Breslin said that this is something he has not given a lot of thought to, but that if there was skill and talent that exists in the immigrant population downstate, "I would try to do my damnedest to get them here.""

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