continued The effect of business investments and cutting edge technology on the Capital District’s economy is fairly obvious, said Murray, and is bound to have a positive effect.
What’s perhaps more interesting and imperative to note, he said, is the effect on how school districts approach higher education and prepare students for the changing workplace.
“Companies are looking to invest in an area where they have a talented, trained workforce, have intellectual resources and support from academia and governments that support investment in clean technology,” said Murray. “That’s exactly what you see in New York State and certainly in the Capital District area.”
Ballston Spa Central School District stands out in its efforts to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning and offer higher education opportunities to its students that focus on clean energy and technology.
“It’s really understanding the role we play in public education as a regional effort and ultimately a statewide effort regarding economic development and understanding those relationships and partnerships between the business industry, higher ed and K-12,” said Dragone.
Ballston Spa High School is offering a new program called Clean Technologies & Sustainable Industries Early College High School at Hudson Valley’s Tec-Smart campus in Malta. A group of 25 students will gain classroom and hands-on experience in the very technologies that are becoming increasingly available to them as a career choice.
“[The panel] talked about the notion of college and career readiness and the notion of high school students co-enrolling in college and having those kinds of learning experience at that facility … is really helping redefine work that’s occurring in K-12 as we prepare kids for their futures,” said Dragone.
Once the program is stable at Ballston Spa High School, Dragone said the district envisions expanding it to other school districts in the area.