NEW YORK—The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Farash Foundation, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and Rochester Area Community Foundation announced the finalists and winners of Leading the Way: A Greater Rochester Workforce Development Video Campaign (Leading the Way) during an awards ceremony last night which included keynote remarks via video by Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren. Leading the Way, the second workforce development video campaign held by the New York Fed, intends to foster a deeper understanding of in-demand industries and the skillsets they require, by challenging students to create public service announcements about skills needed for local career opportunities. The first-place team is from P-TECH Rochester, which created a video about cybersecurity.
In her remarks, Mayor Warren underscored the Greater Rochester Area’s deep experience in workforce development and its important impacts on the region’s economic future. "The middle skills gap is one of the greatest issues facing our economy. That’s why youth and workforce development is one of my top priorities," said Mayor Warren. "… We work tirelessly [with organizations like the New York Fed and P-TECH] to help ensure that this generation of employees and the next have access to safer neighborhoods and quality educational opportunities."
By educating students and the public, the campaign builds on the New York Fed’s continued support for workforce development efforts in the region, which are designed to equip workers with skills to compete in the evolving job market.
"Workforce development is a top priority for us. The economy is changing rapidly, and active investment in education and training for young adults is critical," said Tony Davis, director of Community Engagement at the New York Fed. "The Rochester area has key assets such as a diverse economy, top educational institutions, and strong public-private partnerships that have enabled it to reinvent itself and spur future growth."
2016 Leading the Way Campaign
The awards ceremony last night marked the conclusion of a contest that ran throughout the fourth quarter of 2016 and involved P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) students. The P-TECH model is a 6-year program (covering grades 9-14) that focuses on career readiness and involves a partnership between at least one school district, college and employer—making up a "P-TECH school." Students who complete the program receive a high school diploma and an associate college degree at no cost. The program includes comprehensive training in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as access to industry mentors, with the goal of providing a pathway to full-time employment after graduation.
This year’s campaign drew submissions from three P-TECH schools in the Greater Rochester Area—Wayne Finger Lakes P-TECH, P-TECH Rochester and Western New York Tech Academy. Videos were required to highlight one technical skill associated with a P-TECH career pathway (such as designing and implementing computer network systems, as needed in the information technology industry) and two professional skills (such as personal traits or group experience) in a 30-second segment.
2017 Awards Ceremony
The first-place team is from P-TECH Rochester. The winning video focuses on cybersecurity, highlighting security measures in information technology and the importance of teamwork and dependability in this field. 116 students participated in the campaign, submitting 47 videos. During the preliminary judging rounds throughout the fourth quarter of 2016, the pool was narrowed to the top nine finalists.
All three participating schools were represented among the nine finalists. Finalists from P-TECH Rochester and Wayne Finger Lakes P-TECH schools focused on the information technology and instrumentation and control technology industries. Finalists from Western New York Tech Academy focused on the importance of good management practices in food processing and problem solving in accounting.
Following several remarks—by Mayor Warren, Kate Washington, deputy commissioner of Neighborhood and Business Services for the City of Rochester, and the New York Fed’s Tony Davis—the finalists were announced and their videos were aired before a panel for live judging. The judges on the panel were Rajesh Barnabas, producer at Rochester Community Television; Staci Henning, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Greater Rochester Enterprise; Dave Phillips, training manager of G.W. Lisk Company, Inc.; and Robin Willner, director of New York State P-TECH Leadership Council. John Kucko, anchor at WROC News 8 First, hosted the event, and Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of Rochester Area Community Foundation, provided concluding remarks.