from the Legislative Commission on
Skills Development
and Career Education

Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Joan K. Christensen, Chair • May 2006

Assemblywoman Joan K. Christensen Assemblywoman
Joan K. Christensen
Dear Friend:

On January 13, 2005 I had the honor of being appointed Chair of the Assembly’s Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education. The Commission was created in 1986 to study issues relating to the development of employment skills in the State’s workforce.

During the 2005 legislative session the Commission focused on the issue of educational and workforce training for emerging workers (ages 16-21), our future workforce. Since the State’s economic future depends on the competitiveness of our workforce, it is imperative that we monitor, assess and upgrade the educational and training opportunities for emerging workers that: build the skills needed for a quality job; provide lifelong learning opportunities; support emerging workers in managing their careers; and, improve the productivity and competitiveness of New York State’s economy.

In an effort to better understand and address the workforce issues pertaining to emerging workers the Skills Commission and I have:

  • Met with State and local officials, business and community leaders, and workforce professionals to discuss current and future plans to better prepare emerging workers for employment in a 21st century economy;

  • Monitored State Workforce Investment Board activities in relation to a student Work Readiness Credential;

  • Introduced and passed a Congressional resolution urging Congress to reauthorize and increase funding for the Perkins Vocational & Technical Education Program;

  • Visited a One-Stop employment and training center in order to see first-hand the type of educational, employment, and supplemental training services that are offered;

  • Held a roundtable discussion on how Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs are better preparing students for college and employment after high school; and,

  • Published the “Workforce Development Catalog” which provides a comprehensive overview of the vital network of workforce skills training programs in New York State.

I look forward to building upon the success of the past year as well as working with small businesses to address their workforce concerns. Additionally, I plan to hold a hearing that will look into how localities utilize federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds and host a roundtable to explore skill training issues pertaining to in-school and out-of-school youth.

As always, if you have any concerns or questions please feel free to contact my District Office at (315) 449-9536 or the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education at (518) 455-4865.

Joan K. Christensen
Chair, Commission on
Skills Development & Career Education

Assemblywoman Christensen Tours
Capital District One-Stop

photo Assemblywoman Christensen talks with Sheri Townsend, Co-Manager of the Albany One-Stop and Albany City Commissioner of Youth and Workforce Services.

photo Assemblywoman Christensen speaks with a staff member at the Albany One-Stop.

photo Assemblywoman Christensen talks to Jeanette Raynor, the Department of Labor Co-Manager of the Albany One-Stop.

Last Spring, Assemblywoman Joan Christensen toured Career Central, Albany’s One-Stop Career Center, located at 175 Central Avenue. The Albany One-Stop Career Center provides the public with convenient access to employment information and education or training services. Career Central and other One-Stops located around the State were established by the federal Workforce Investment Act in 1998. One-Stops provide some of the following services:

  • Comprehensive and specialized assessments of skills and service needs;

  • Development of an individual employment plan;

  • Group counseling or individual counseling and career planning; and,

  • Case management for individuals seeking training.

While at Career Central, Assemblywoman Christensen met with key staff members to discuss the availability of services for dislocated workers and youth. David Wallingford, Regional Administrator for the Capital Northern Region, Jeanette Raynor, Co-Manager of the Albany One-Stop Career Center, Robert Wildermuth, Director of Workforce Development, Sheri Townsend, Commissioner of Youth and Workforce Services, and Douglas Lansing, Director of Enrollee Services, discussed the Center and described the relationship between the One-Stop Center and the co-located Capital District Workforce Investment Board, which includes Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties.

Jeanette Raynor, the Department of Labor’s Co-Manager of the Albany One-Stop Career Center gave a tour of the One-Stop Resource Room and explained how computers and reference materials are used to assist job seekers.

During the tour Assemblywoman Christensen saw what valuable services are offered to the local community.

To find the One-Stop Career Center in your county, visit: http://workforcenewyork.org/onestops.htm.

Skills Commission Agenda

Over the next year, the Legislative Commission on Skills Development and Career Education, under the leadership of Assemblywoman Christensen, will:

  • Hold a small business roundtable to assess small business workforce needs and how the State can better serve those needs;

  • Determine whether the New York City Workforce Investments Board (WIB) and other WIBs around the state are effectively meeting the needs of the local community and businesses;

  • Explore how the State can attract and retain more students in the fields of math, science, and engineering;

  • Host a roundtable discussion to determine how Local Workforce Investment Boards are dealing with out-of-school youth who are not prepared to enter the workforce; and,

  • Talk to State and local officials, businesses, community leaders and workforce professionals to ensure that skills development and career education programs are meeting the needs of New York’s workers, businesses, and labor and educational communities.

The Skills Commissions will continue its work to: (1) ensure that education and workforce development programs are aligned with economic development programs; (2) enhance workers’ ability to manage their careers; and, (3) strengthen governance and accountability in the workforce system.

Assemblywoman Christensen Hosts a Roundtable on
Career Technical Education Programs

photo Assemblywoman Christensen with John Twomey, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training Employment Professionals (NYATEP), discussing how CTE programs are preparing students for future employment or post-secondary school.

photo CTE culinary art students from East Syracuse-Minoa High School, who prepared a surprise lunch for the event.

photo As a follow-up to the CTE roundtable, Assemblywoman Christensen meets with Regent Joseph Bowman to discuss education programs for in-school and out-of-school youths.

Over the past few years Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, formerly referred to as vocational or occupational education programs, have made changes to ensure that CTE programs provide students the opportunity to: (1) acquire foundation skills for life-long learning and future employability (2) learn the value of work through work-based learning experiences; (3) become familiar with ways to use academic knowledge to solve real world problems; and, (4) learn the technical skills required in a particular career field.

On October 25, 2005 Assemblywoman Christensen hosted a roundtable at East Syracuse-Minoa High School to discuss how CTE programs prepare students for college and employment after high school. Joining Assemblywoman Christensen at the roundtable were: Dr. Donna Desiato, Superintendent of East Syracuse-Minoa Central School district; Kurt Roulston, City of Syracuse Economic Development; Dr. Jessica Cohen, Superintendent, BOCES Onondaga-Cortland-Madison; Bill Sweeney, President, ESM-NS Credit Union; and Fran Murphy, Principal, East Syracuse-Minoa Central High School, as well as Onondaga County area educators, employment and training professionals, business owners and community leaders.

Roundtable participants stressed the need to change commonly held misconceptions about CTE so that both parents and students are aware of these benefits:

  • CTE covers a variety of subject areas and is designed to prepare high school students for life-long careers;

  • CTE programs provide learning experiences which allow high school students to become aware of a broad spectrum of careers;

  • CTE is not for any one type of student. CTE programs are highly specialized and prepare both college-bound and non-college bound students for a specific college major or employment in a specific field;

  • CTE can be tailored to a student’s career goal. While some CTE programs prepare students to continue their study in rigorous college majors, others prepare students for employment;

  • CTE prepares students to be successful in college by affording them unique advantages. Students have the opportunity to explore college related majors prior to making a commitment to a college degree program;

  • Studies show that CTE students are strong candidates for success in college as they are likely to stay committed to a post-secondary degree program due to the fact that they have received two years of advanced preparation directly related to their college major;

  • In many cases students can earn college credits with local and regional two-and four-year colleges; and,

  • For those students planning to enter the workforce upon graduation from high school, CTE programs provide students with marketable skills. In addition to developing career-specific technical skills, CTE students learn “soft” skills such as leadership, problem solving, interpersonal communication skills, and responsible work habits prior to entering the workforce.

To find out additional information about available CTE programs in your area, contact local school district officials or contact the State Education Department at:

Office of Elementary, Middle, Secondary & Continuing Education (EMSC)
Career & Technical Education
Phone: 518-486-1547
Fax: 518-402-5114
E-mail: emsccte@mail.nysed.gov

Youthbuild Program: Improving Communities
and Creating Leaders

Assemblywoman Christensen applauds Youthbuild programs and their efforts to work with out-of-school youth across the State and the nation. Founded in 1990, Youthbuild USA is a national non-profit organization that works with a nationwide network of more than 200 local programs. Youthbuild programs help young adults to obtain their GED or high school diploma while learning job skills by building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people. Strong emphasis is placed on leadership development and community service.

The number of Youthbuild programs in New York is steadily increasing. On October 12, 2005, Jubilee Homes established a Youthbuild Program in the City of Syracuse. Jubilee Homes of Syracuse is a private not-for-profit community-based organization that builds affordable housing for the City’s southwest neighborhood. The organization is working in partnership with the City of Syracuse, the Syracuse City School District, the Center for Community Alternatives Inc., Home Headquarters Inc., Syracuse Model Neighborhood Corporation Inc., and On Point for College.

Assemblywoman Christensen believes that Youthbuild programs are important because they not only provide job skills for young people, but empower them as well.

For more information about the Jubilee Youthbuild Program contact:
Jubilee Homes of Syracuse, Inc. n 901 Tallman Street n Syracuse, NY 13204
Phone: 315-428-0070 • Fax: 315-428-0461 • E-mail: Jubileehomes@jubilee-homes.org

To find out additional information or locations of other Youthbuild Programs in your area
visit the YouthBuild U. S. A. website at: http://www.youthbuild.org/about.html.

Small Business Feedback Form
**Click here for a printable view**

The Skills Commission is seeking your input as to how small business can be better served by the workforce development system. Please fill out the form if you have any suggestions or concerns which you believe should be addressed.




Type of Business:


Small Business Workforce Issues

Please check topic areas which you believe are major issues for small businesses
concerning job training opportunities.

box State Efforts to Establish a Student Credentialing System that is Industry Recognized

box Aligning Workforce Development with Economic Development

box Difficulty Locating Worker Training Information, Services & Funding

box Retaining Skilled Incumbent Workers

box Upgrading of Employer and Employee Technical/Industry Skills

box Complex Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Regulations which restrict utilization of Program Services

Other Workforce Concerns:

Please feel free to contact the Legislative Commission on Skills Development & Career Education
with any questions or concerns: 518-455-4865.

Please return completed survey form to Assemblywoman Joan Christensen’s Albany office at:
Room 502 Legislative Office Building • Albany, NY 12248

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