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Teacher training program launched to develop future high-tech workforce

By WKTV News

ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. - As part of the region's transformative strategy to grow its own high-tech workforce, Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced the kickoff for the 2012 SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition, in partnership with officials from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Workforce Investment Board, Mohawk Valley EDGE, NYSUT and BOCES.

The program is a two-day training conference for middle and high-school educators focusing on the high-growth career fields of science and technology. The teacher training will run from July 31st to August 1st.

"Workers of the future need higher math and science skills than in the past, which means that to attract the employers of the future, we need to start acting today to equip our students with the skills they need to achieve success." Picente said. "I believe that developing the future workforce begins in our schools, in our classrooms, by helping our many outstanding teachers introduce nanotechnology and other key semiconduc­tor industry concepts to students across Oneida County. This innovative opportunity is a chance to begin building the future and helping today's students be tomorrow's leaders."

The conference is offered free for educators through the partnership of government and community partners including Oneida County, Mohawk Valley EDGE, the Workforce Investment Board, the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida counties, NYSUT and the Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES. School districts are limited to two participants, preferably math, science, and technology teachers or guidance counselors.

Gary Scalzo, Chairman of the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties said, "Addressing the skills gap is a problem for many employers today. Many of the current job vacancies require individuals excelling in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In order to accomplish this we need the collected efforts of employers, educators and government. This is why the Workforce Investment Board is taking this opportunity as a long term investment in the future of our workforce."

Peggy O'Shea, President & CEO, The Community Foundation of Herkimer & Oneida Counties, Inc., said, "The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is pleased and excited to be one of the leading supporters of the SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition program. To be successful at all levels a community must embrace education. An educated community translates to a strong workforce. A strong workforce offers opportunities for businesses to thrive. High Tech U Teacher Edition promises to open minds and engage teachers in new ways of learning and teaching."

Steven J. DiMeo, President of the Mohawk Valley EDGE said, "Leading the Mohawk Valley into the 21st Century economy requires a skilled workforce. Industries we are growing in our region include nanotechnology, advanced manufacturing and information technology and assurance. Today, more than ever, we need teach­ers integrating STEM into their classrooms. SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition is a great tool to prepare our educators and shine a spotlight on science, technology, engineering and math."

BOCES Superintendent Howard Mettelman said, "Our region has many outstanding teachers who want to give their students the edge in the highly competitive fields of science, math and technology. This workshop is an opportunity for teachers to receive help from outside experts so that they can integrate important industry concepts into their classrooms while still fulfilling curriculum requirements."

The SEMI High Tech U Teacher Edition program offers an in-depth, interactive course taught by industry professionals to train local middle and high-school educators in the most effective way to introduce to their classrooms the rapidly expanding career fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The program connects local educators with training in practical applications of course material and presents both new concepts in career exploration and simplifies the connection between academics and the workplace. The program has been offered for the past four years and in that time has trained over 150 teachers.

The program covers emerging technology and includes information sessions in nanotechnology and alternative energy, and includes a tour of Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. The program introduces teachers to the concepts involved in the fields, stresses the significance of the subject matter in today's technology-dominated world, and trains teachers how to integrate related curriculum with NYS standards in education. Follow up activities serve to establish connections between school teachers, higher education opportunities and industry leaders

Picente also noted the work of Fred Monaco of NYSUT in Rome, who has coordinated teacher recruitment at participating schools, as well as support from NYSUT Headquarters, which provided marketing materials for the program and oversaw mailings of promotional material to identified teacher pool and managed teacher applications and Professional Development hours.

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