State backs LI jobs program for students

A partnership between aerospace parts manufacturer Arkwin Industries

A partnership between aerospace parts manufacturer Arkwin Industries Inc., Farmingdale State College and Long Island high schools would result in a college degree in mechanical engineering for each participant and first chance at job openings. (July 5, 2011) (Credit: Alexi Knock)

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A local defense contractor, a college and high schools have teamed up to give students job skills and work, beginning next year.

The collaboration between aerospace parts manufacturer Arkwin Industries Inc., Farmingdale State College and a schools group led by the Uniondale school district would result in a college degree in mechanical engineering for each student, an internship at Arkwin and first crack at job openings there.

The local partnership was among 16 across New York to win about $2 million in state aid for fiscal 2013-14, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Wednesday. Federal money will also support the initiative.

The first students will be enrolled in fall 2014. They will be drawn from the Uniondale, Wyandanch and Freeport school districts, and Nassau BOCES and Western Suffolk BOCES.

More than 300 students are expected to participate over the next six to seven years, or about 20 per district per year, officials said. Albany is expected to provide more than $2.5 million to the Long Island program.

In January, Cuomo called for the establishment of a statewide Pathways in Technology Early College High School program, or P-TECH. It's modeled on a 3-year-old collaboration in New York City between IBM, the city's Department of Education, City College of Technology and CUNY.

P-TECH "will give students across the state the opportunity to earn a college degree without taking on significant debt from student loans, while also starting on a pathway to a good-paying job," he said Wednesday.

New York is the first to establish a statewide program. President Barack Obama praised the New York City initiative in his 2013 State of the Union speech.

W. Hubert Keen, Farmingdale State president, said: "The P-TECH school partnership enables Farmingdale to expand its wide array of programs that reach out to the educational and industrial communities -- something we are already very good at." He added that linking high schools to colleges and businesses "can lead to productive outcomes."

Arkwin, based in Westbury, makes hydraulic components used in commercial and defense aircraft. A company executive wasn't available.

Recently, Arkwin has participated in events organized by East Garden City's Cradle of Aviation Museum to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering or math.

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