Economist: STEM-educated work force will drive the Hudson Valley's economy

Dr. Paul Harrington addresses audience of more than 200 at HVEDC’s State of the Hudson Valley Economy conference

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  • Source: Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. Dr. Paul Harrington of Drexel University spoke to a packed room of more than 200 at SUNY New Paltz for HVEDCþÄôs second annual State of the Hudson Valley Economy.

NEW WINDSOR — Nationally recognized labor expert Dr. Paul Harrington of Drexel University led a thought-provoking discussion of the regional economy and what STEaM education will mean for the region’s future at the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp.’s (HVEDC) second State of the Hudson Valley Economy earlier this week.

More than 200 business and government leaders packed the room at SUNY New Paltz for the event, entitled "Full STEaM Ahead!"

“Recently there has been a lot of focus on the Millennial generation in the Hudson Valley region, both with respect to their income and purchasing power, as well as an emerging source of labor supply in the region,” said Harrington, the Director of Drexel University’s Center of Labor Market and Policy. “Our findings suggest Baby Boomers remain the economic powerhouse of the region.”

Harrington showed that Boomers have a 47 percent share of aggregate household income, compared with 33 percent for Generation Xers and just 5 percent for Millenials.

The emergence of STEM jobs“There is a lot of confusion about STEM careers – individuals with a background in science, technology, engineering or math,” said Laurence P. Gottlieb, president and CEO of HVEDC. “Business and government leaders hear a lot about the value of building a STEM-skilled workforce but do not have a clear road map describing the specific skill sets needed or the industries seeking those STEM workers.”

Harrington said that while incomes in STEM careers remain high, these jobs only account for 5-7 percent of employment in the region.

“By infusing the arts into a STEM background, think of the impact these well-rounded workers could have on the economy if more effort was devoted to creating them,” Gottlieb said.

“HVEDC sees a clear process to integrating STEaM into the Hudson Valley’s economy by elevating STEaM education across secondary and college-level academic institutions and keeping those educated here in the Hudson Valley workforce."

'This will, in turn, allow us to attract high-paying tech companies to the region and therefore create jobs to be filled by our own, STEaM-educated workforce.”

“Paul Harrington helped us to understand the state of the STEaM workforce in the region, what STEaM jobs are available in the region and what background is necessary for a STEM career,” Gottlieb added. “He essentially enlightened us with an honest discussion about what our baseline is for STEM careers.”

A panel discussion also focused on STEaM education by providing different perspectives representing academia, the technology community and manufacturing companies.

“The inclusion of the arts in STEM means turning knowledge into power,” said Paul Kassel, interim dean of SUNY New Paltz’s School of Fine & Performing Arts. “We see more evidence every day that the arts and sciences are allies and that the creative class – those well-versed in both design and engineering, math and music, technology and theater – is the workforce of this century.”

The resurgence of manufacturing

“Without a pipeline of talented people educated in STEaM fields, Hudson Valley manufacturers will not be able to compete in today’s global economy,” said Harold King, executive vice president of Council of Industry. “Manufacturing is an exciting and resurgent sector and we need smart and creative people to work in it.”

Essential informationHVEDC is the leading economic development agency for the seven-county region of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties. The public-private partnership markets the region as a prime business location to corporate executives, site selection consultants and real estate brokers. HVEDC helped start the organizational, branding and promotional effort for NY BioHud Valley, Hudson Valley 3D Printing, Hudson Valley EDs & MEDs and the Hudson Valley Food & Beverage Alliance.

To learn more, call 845-220-2244 or visit

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