Union-Business Partnership Creating Opportunities for Students in NY

By Kevin Hart

It’s a question that has loomed large over every statewide election, every legislative session, and millions of kitchen tables from Albany to Buffalo over the past quarter century – what to do about the Upstate New York economy?

The area, loosely defined as the region of New York north of the New York City metropolitan area, is filled with cities and towns that at one time sprung up around major employers, such as manufacturing plants and paper mills, that have long since downsized, closed or relocated. The area’s economic transition has created problems ranging from pockets of high unemployment and poverty to “flight,” where skilled, educated graduates were forced to leave the area in search of work.

But those problems, which have lingered for decades, are beginning to improve, thanks to a partnership between the state teacher’s union, community leaders and local businesses.

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