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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Educating Long Islanders in a Changing Economy: Issues and Outlook

Long Island is just emerging from a deep and "transformational" recession. Job growth has been slow but if Long Island's educational community meets the challenges posed by the transition to a knowledge-based economy, Long Island could generate numerous well-paying jobs in the next several years, according to a new LIA report released today.

The Long Island Association, in a new report entitled "Educating Long Islanders in a Changing Economy: Issues and Outlook" notes that Long Island is well positioned to prosper in a knowledge-based economy by virtue of its highly educated, skilled labor force and its top-notch educational and research institutions. Prepared by Dr. Pearl M. Kamer, the LIA's Chief Economist, the report quantifies the economic impact of Long Island's educational sector and discusses the changes that could boost student achievement and enhance regional economic development.

A principal finding is that the educational sector, including primary, secondary and postsecondary schools, injects $17.4 billion annually into the Long Island economy. This boosts Long Island's output of goods and services, its gross regional product, by almost $35 billion through the multiplier process. Thus, the educational sector - directly or indirectly - accounts for nearly one-quarter of Long Island's gross regional product of about $137 billion.

LIA President Kevin S. Law notes that virtually all of the jobs created in the coming decade will require at least some post-secondary education and that ensuring college success will require improved student achievement in the primary and secondary grades. According to Law, "Long Island's educational community is up to this challenge. The quality and diversity of its primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions ensures that Long Island will continue to have the skilled workforce needed to compete effectively in a knowledge-based economy."

The report notes that student achievement in the primary and secondary grades would be helped by a longer school day and a longer school year. U.S. children spend an average of 53 hours per week using electronic media and only 30 hours per week in school. Other initiatives like Career Academies and Early College High School, where college courses are incorporated into the high school curriculum, retain student interest and improve student performance.

Kamer notes: "In a knowledge-based economy, the businesses that are most dependent on knowledge, research, new ideas, new technologies and new processes have the greatest staying power and growth potential." Therefore, the challenge is to use college and university resources in pursuit of regional economic development.

The new report was funded by the New York Community Bank Foundation, the Long Island Regional Advisory Council on Higher Education and HSBC Bank USA. For a free copy call 631-493-3004 or email: thansen@longislandassociation.org