New York



Did you know that in New York:

  • Almost 4.3 million children (under the age of 18) live in the state;
  • More than 1 out of every 3 children live in a household with only one parent;
  • Only 15 percent of 3-year-olds and 58 percent of 4-year-olds were enrolled in state-funded pre-kindergarten, Head Start or a special education preschool program;
  • 63 percent of fourth graders are reading below grade level;
  • 67 percent of eighth graders are below grade level in math;
  • 23% of high school students fail to graduate on time;
  • Seven of every ten new jobs created between 2008 and 2018 will require some type of formal education beyond high school;
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) jobs will grow by 10% in between 2008 and 2018, and 93% of STEM jobs will require post-secondary education by 2018.
Click here for the complete New York Child Fact Sheet.

 Developing Necessary Skill Sets

To overcome the challenges of the skills gap, we must train and re-train our current workforce. We must also develop skills in young people to ensure that they enter the workforce better prepared.  To be equipped with the knowledge and abilities businesses now require, students must:
  •  Master Core Academic Content
  •  Think Critically and Solve Complex Problems
  •  Work Collaboratively
  •  Communicate Effectively
  •  Learn How to Learn
  • Develop Academic Mindsets
Click here to read a description of these skills.

Innovative high school education models, along with rigorous standards, assessments, and accountability systems, can help to address the skills gap affecting businesses across the country. Business leaders know the importance of educational standards and aligned assessments that will help students master core academic content, and train them to think critically, solve complex problems and communicate effectively (i.e. deeper learning skills) that they will need to be competitive in today’s highly-skilled workforce.

Click here to view more on the background of these standards.

Click here to learn more about standards for math and standards for English language arts.

Click here to view more on New York’s standards.

Bringing Career Relevance to High School Classrooms

My experience in private industry and work force development has shown that when you invest in people at an early age, you build a solid foundation that remains with them throughout their life.”

-Gary M. Nicklaus, President, Career Connections, LLC, Albany, NY

In conjunction with these standards and assessments, innovative high school have shown promising results in preparing students for success in college and career. Often called “smaller learning communities,” education models such as “Career Academies” integrate career relevance training with a rigorous academic curriculum, equipping students with important skills highly valued by employers. These schools:
  • Are comprised of a group of students who take classes together for at least two years and are taught by the same group of teachers
  • Provide a college preparatory curriculum based on a career theme that helps students see relationships and connections between academic subjects and their application in the real world.
  • Develop partnerships with employers, the community, and colleges.


 Our 2014 Policy Priorities

Education policy at the federal and state levels needs to address the range of knowledge and skills needed for all students to be fully ready for college and careers. Policy opportunities include:
  • Skill Development
  • Measurable Results
  • Accountability
  • Professional Development and Teaching Practice
  • Academic Standards and Aligned Assessments
 Click here to view the policy actions in support of increased workforce skill levels in New York.


For FY2014-15, America’s Edge supports the following priorities:


Early Learning*

  • Increased investment in high-quality Pre-K programs;
  • Restoration of child care funding to 2010-11 levels; and
  • Implementation of quality standards, such as those outlined in QUALITYstarsNY, with a $10M commitment of state funding to increase access to high-quality programs

 College- and Career-Readiness

  •  Increased investment in career and technical education models, including P-TECH Early College High School initiative;
  •  Increased investment in expanded learning opportunities, such as extended day and afterschool programs; and
  • Support for the development of deeper learning skills—critical thinking, communication, and collaboration—as well as the soft skills employers expect in their workforce

* America’s Edge supports the Winning Beginning NY Executive Agenda


 ”Too many students do not understand why they need to know what they are being taught, lose interest in school, and then do not develop the skills employers expect of them. America’s Edge recommends a concentration on innovative models in our high schools that can help students stay engaged and graduate with a real understanding of what they will need to succeed in college and on the job, thus better ensuring New York business leaders will have a workforce armed with the necessary skills to survive in a global marketplace.”

-F. Michael Tucker, President, Center for Economic Growth, giving testimony at the 2013 Joint Legislative Hearing with the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee, January 29, 2013

Click here to read Michael Tucker’s testimony.

Sign-On Letters


In the face of the current budget deficit, we need to do the math and make sure we look at all types of investments and determine which ones can give us the biggest return possible. I was surprised to learn that investments in quality early care and education is a very effective way to help jump-start New York’s economy. As the America’s Edge report points out, these investments increase sales in local goods as much or more as investments in other major sectors.”

-State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-NY), speaking at an America’s Edge press conference, March 11, 2010

America’s Edge Discusses Importance of Arts in STEM Education

September 2013

In many states, including New York, jobs in the STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Math—fields are growing rapidly, which has lead to an increased focus on STEM education. Education in the arts, on the other hand, is often the first victim when the focus turns to STEM or when budgets need to be cut. There is evidence, however, that incorporating the arts in education can benefit students and the economy.

Taking an even broader view on the role of arts in the economy shows how education in the arts contributes to the competitiveness of New York companies nationally and internationally. Statewide, “independent artists, writers, and performers” generated $2 billion in 2007. But an additional $15 billion in revenue was generated by “advertising, public relations, and related services,” where training in writing and the visual and media arts is crucial for many employees. For the competitive future of America, training in the arts and STEM education should not be an either-or proposition. It just might help these students in the future create the competitive edge their employers will need.

Click here to read the full brief, entitled “Broadening the Focus to STEAM Education.”

America’s Edge Releases New Report in Albany

May 2013

Press Conference at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University of Albany

Capital Region business leaders released an America’s Edge report, entitled Ensuring the Capital Region’s Global Success: Reversing our “skills gaps” through high school education models, in Albany that outlines the current and anticipated “skills gaps” in the state’s workforce and urged support for implementation of college- and career-ready standards and evidence-based high school models that will help students develop the skills now needed in a global economy. The report shows that New York needs at least an additional 350,000 mid-level skilled workers if the state is going to fill the jobs of the future and continue to compete and succeed in the global economy.  The deficit of workers is particularly evident in the five-county Capital Region, where high-tech science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) companies have expressed concerns about filling jobs.

The following business leaders with America’s Edge and higher education leaders gathered in Albany at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to release the report: Mark Eagan, President and CEO, Albany Chamber of Commerce; David Rooney, Senior Vice President at the Center for Economic Growth; John Cavalier, CEO (Retired), MapInfo; and Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY Senior Vice Chancellor for Community Colleges and the Education Pipeline.

Click here to view the report.


America’s Edge Releases New Report on Long Island


February 2013

Three prominent Long Island business leaders, along with Sen. John Flanagan, Chair of the State Senate Education Committee,  released an America’s Edge report on February 20, 2013 showing that investments in high-quality early care and education have a “multiplier effect”: an immediate boost to New York businesses and long-term economic benefits through a more skilled future workforce. (Click here to view the report.)

Sen. John Flanagan, Chair of the State Senate Education Committee

Sen. John Flanagan, Chair of the State Senate Education Committee, participated in the release of an America’s Edge report at CA Technologies in Islandia, New York.

Participating in a news conference at the CA Technologies on-site child care center were America’s Edge members Lisa Mars, Vice President for Human Resources at CA Technologies, Kevin McCrudden, President of Motivate America, Inc., and Michael DeLuise, President of the Melville Chamber of Commerce. They were joined by Jenn O’Connor, New York State Director of America’s Edge, a national nonprofit business leaders organization.

The America’s Edge report cites research showing that key “quality components” of early care and education programs significantly contribute to both short- and long-term benefits for New York businesses, including on Long Island. The report shows that investments in quality early learning have an immediate economic impact, with every dollar invested generating a total of $1.86 in sales of local goods and services throughout the state.

 Click here to view the report. 

America’s Edge Releases New Reports in Albany


February 2012

On February 29, 2012, AMERICA’S EDGE released a new report entitled, “Boosting New York’s Economy: Short- and Long-Term Economic Gains through Quality Early Learning” which documents how the quality components of early care and education programs contribute to increased economic activity generated by investments in early learning, while laying the foundation for a highly skilled workforce for the future.

January 2010 

Business leaders see a major economic boost for New York by expanding Childcare and Pre-K.  Watch the video below for highlights from the news conference featuring America’s Edge members from New York.

 Click here to read the full report.

 Report Coverage

  1. March 12, 2010, Albany Times Union, “Childcare Payoff.”
  2. March 11, 2010, Legislative Gazette, “Toddlers can save New York.”
  3. March 11, 2010, WAMC, “Business leaders see major economic boost for NY by expanding child care and pre-K.”


America’s Edge in the News


  • ECE PolicyWorks mentioned America’s Edge in a blog post about the unique way in which business leaders can support education reform.  The post includes a video of business leaders speaking about why these programs are important for economic growth.  Click here to read the blog and watch the video.
  • America’s Edge member Robert Freaso, Vital Tools USA, wrote a letter-to-the-editor in response to the article, and it was published here: “Pre-K needs boost.”


*For more information, contact Jenn O’Connor, the New York State Director.