May 2016 Cover Story: Economic Development

Securing a stronger future for the north country

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

COR Development’s Mercy Health Center Redevelopment project is set to begin its first phase of construction this summer on 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 108 apartments. Overall, the project will house 168 units and a community center on the grounds of the former Mercy Hospital in Watertown. Photo by Stephen Swofford, NNY Business.

Despite workforce challenges, regional economic development continues to power positive growth across Northern New York

By Karee Magee, NNY Business

A rural and historically challenged region where economic development was often stagnant, the Great Recession dealt a significant blow to New York’s north country as its counties saw a spike in unemployment and manufacturing jobs disappear, including about 600 from Jefferson County alone. [Read more…]

April 2016: Guest Essay

Connecting education with business, industry

Tracy Gyoerkoe

Tracy Gyoerkoe

Career and technical educators have been connecting education with business and industry almost since their inception. In today’s world, it’s even more important for these connections to remain strong, and more and more, all educators are working to connect learning to the real world of work. [Read more…]

STEM scholarship offers NNY students opportunity

CANTON – A full scholarship offered by New York state to attend college for science, technology, engineering and math related fields could be an important launch for north country students.

The state offers a full scholarship to the top 10 percent of graduating high school students to attend SUNY schools for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and who pledge to work and live in New York for five years following graduation.

State Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, is encouraging area students to consider the STEM scholarship as a good step into their future.

“The north country is home to many high-tech industries and world-class universities,” Mrs. Russell said in a statement. “This scholarship is an excellent opportunity that I hope driven young people will take advantage of so they can write the next chapter of development in the region.”

Last year, statewide, there were 553 recipients for the scholarship totaling $2.796 million.

For the north country region, including Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Clinton, Essex, Franklin and Hamilton counties, there were 15 recipients totaling $84,208.

Students looking to receive the scholarship must graduate in the top 10 percent of their class; attend a SUNY, CUNY or statutory college including Cornell and Alfred Universities; and must maintain a 2.5 grade point average or higher each semester.

For a high poverty area like the north country region, going to college could be tough to picture for many students, but schools in the region are beginning to push these STEM fields early in students’ education which could set them up for opportunities like the state’s scholarship.

“Considering the high poverty level in the area this scholarship could be a great opportunity for students who may not have the ability to go to college,” said Lisa J. Blank, the new STEM director for the Watertown City School District. “You are talking saving kids around $30,000 a year.”

Thomas R. Burns, superintendent of the St. Lawrence-Lewis Board of Cooperative Educational Services, agreed that the scholarship makes college more accessible for students.

“By providing a full SUNY tuition, the scholarship would increase the equity for student access to college,” Mr. Burns said.

Mrs. Blank has worked with several area school districts including Sackets Harbor, Lyme, General Brown and Belleville Henderson to set up programs in science, technology, engineering and math and apply for grants from the Department of Defense Education Activity.

Mrs. Blank recently helped Watertown schools secure a $1.25 million grant from DoDEA to set up STEM programming in the district.

The grant money will be used for teacher training in technology, implementation of video lessons on the computer that can be bought or developed by teachers and several technology-based extracurricular activities, including robotics clubs for elementary pupils and engineering clubs for middle and high school students.

The funding can be applied to 14 clubs.

The money also will buy two new laptop carts each for H.T. Wiley Intermediate School, Case Middle School and Watertown High School, as well as a new virtual learning system.

Mrs. Blank also put schools in touch with STEM programs including Project Lead the Way, which provides STEM curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade.

Mrs. Blank also helped Lyme Central School District connect with the Full Option Science System program which provides hands-on learning science curricula for kindergarten through eighth grade.

“Seventy percent of the instruction is hands-on which increases kids’ interest in science,” Mrs. Blank said. “It is important to get kids interested in STEM at elementary school and middle school levels so they are on the right path for knowing what they want to do when they graduate high school.”

Stephen J. Todd, superintendent of the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES, said anything that encourages students to go to college to become STEM coordinators would be good for north country schools.

“There is a shortage of teachers in this area particularly in STEM related fields,” Mr. Todd said. “I think this scholarship is a wonderful thing for the state as a whole. It is a good incentive for students to go into STEM instruction which could benefit our schools.”

Mr. Burns said it is important that the scholarship requires commitment from students to stay in the state after graduation.

“Requiring the recipients to sign a service agreement to stay in New York in a STEM-related field not only promotes STEM-related careers but contributes to better economic development growth while helping to limit the out migration of young people to other parts of the state and country,” Mr. Burns said.

Both BOCES facilities offer career and technical classes for students attending member schools.

“We have been working on many career-focused programs at the BOCES, and again there are some possibilities with this scholarship to insure that students are both college and career ready when they leave high school and college,” Mr. Burns said.

Mrs. Blank said the only concern Mrs. Blank said she has heard from students was that there are not enough fields that apply as STEM-related under the scholarship guidelines.

According to the New York State Higher Educational Services Corporation, the agency that provides information on scholarship and financial aid options, some approved programs under the scholarship guidelines include computer science and programming, agricultural engineering, industrial and manufacturing engineering, solar technology and mathematics and statistics.

“In the long-run, this scholarship will benefit all New Yorkers as we encourage and cultivate tomorrow’s industry leaders and secure a bright economic future,” Mrs. Russell said.

According to the state Department of Labor the median wage for workers in STEM occupations in the north country region is $59,641.

The STEM occupation in the north country with the highest median wage is a physician’s assistant, $103,685, which employed 200 people in 2015.

The next highest median wage for the north country was earned by environmental engineers, $85,216, which employed 80 people in 2015.

The lowest median wage was earned by architectural and civil drafters, $31,250, which employed 80 people in 2015.

Scholarship requirements

Be a legal resident of the state and reside here for 12 months.

Be a high school senior/recent high school graduate who will be enrolled full-time at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University, beginning in the fall term following his or her high school graduation.

Be ranked in the top 10 percent of his/her high school graduating class of a New York state high school.

Be matriculated in an undergraduate program leading to a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Earn a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher each term after the first semester.

Execute a service contract agreeing to reside and work in the state for five years in the field of science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

By Richard Moody, Times Staff Writer

2015 Class of 20 Under 40

NNYB_December2015_cover

This year’s class of 20 Under 40:

A development director, a news anchor, an assistant principal, an operations and IT supervisor, an advertising account executive, a financial director, health care professionals, a chief of staff and business owner, a village mayor, a civil engineer, an installation forester, a company president and a few directors.

Our fifth annual 20 Under 40 class was the most competitive field yet, and these individuals represent a snapshot of Northern New York’s most accomplished, dedicated and involved young professionals, across three Northern New York counties and across a wide range of nonprofits, businesses.
All of these young men and women are involved in some shape or form in their community, whether by serving on an organization’s board, creating an annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, hosting a polar bear dip, or something as simple as helping to coaching a community basketball team or participating a charity 5K run/walk.

All of these leaders, who are between the ages of 25 and 39, were chosen not only by the editors and staff of NNY Business magazine, but by virtue of glowing recommendations from their peers and employers. And not only do these emerging leaders, who embody the prized north country values of compassion, hard work and selflessness, make time in hectic schedules to volunteer in the community, they give their very best in challenging career fields each and every day, all out of an effort to make the place they have chosen to stay in and call home the very best place it can be.

Donna M. Smith, 39: Village of Lowville & BOCES

 

Donna M. Smith learned about hard work and community service at a very young age. [Read more…]

November 2015 Cover Story: Gifts of Giving

Gifts of giving brighten the region

Margot C. Jacoby, with her daughter, Martha Papworth O’Neill. Martha died in 2010 after a fight against renal cell carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer. Mrs. Jacoby and her husband, Douglas, have established the Martha Papworth O’Neill Scholarship at the JCC Foundation. The scholarship in Martha’s name is given each year to a non-traditional student enrolled in humanities and social sciences. A scholarship fund was also set up in Martha’s name at Cazenovia College, where she had served on the Alumni Board of Directors.

Margot C. Jacoby, with her daughter, Martha Papworth O’Neill. Martha died in 2010 after a fight against renal cell carcinoma, a rare form of kidney cancer. Mrs. Jacoby and her husband, Douglas, have established the Martha Papworth O’Neill Scholarship at the JCC Foundation. The scholarship in Martha’s name is given each year to a non-traditional student enrolled in humanities and social sciences. A scholarship fund was also set up in Martha’s name at Cazenovia College, where she had served on the Alumni Board of Directors.

Across Northern New York, philanthropy large and small aids causes and honors memories while building legacies that leave the north country a better place

By Norah Machia, NNY Business [Read more…]

March 2015 Women in Business Feature Story: Advocates work to empower women

Advocates work to empower women

Jeanna Matthews, left, Clarkson University computer science department, and Valeria Zhukova, right, a Clarkson junior, work with Daniel Dodds-Walters, 10, Parishville, during “Hour of Code” for 9- to 12-year-olds interested in learning more about computer programming last month at the Potsdam Public Library. The St. Lawrence County chapter of the American Association of University Women hosted the event. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

Jeanna Matthews, left, Clarkson University computer science department, and Valeria Zhukova, right, a Clarkson junior, work with Daniel Dodds-Walters, 10, Parishville, during “Hour of Code” for 9- to 12-year-olds interested in learning more about computer programming last month at the Potsdam Public Library. The St. Lawrence County chapter of the American Association of University Women hosted the event. Photo by Jason Hunter, NNY Business.

AAUW members in Jefferson, St. Lawrence counties continue 134-year mission

By Gabrielle Hovendon, NNY Business

What do STEM programming, human trafficking, voter registration and professional business clothes have in common? [Read more…]