image of people sitting in chairOn Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, the African American Men of Westchester in partnership with the Business Council of Westchester hosted their 28th Annual Brotherhood Breakfast. This year’s breakfast featured a panel discussion of the topic "Investing in a Stem-Literate Workforce."

Moderated by Gerald Dennis, Northeast STEM Starter Academy, the panel included Thom Kleiner, Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board; Winston Edwards, TD Bank; Curtis O. Minnis, Sr., FedEx Worldwide Services; and Taryn Duffy, Empire City Casino. 

The Panelists highlighted that there are an abundance of jobs in many types of fields, but high school students need more exposure to these jobs and the skills these jobs require at an earlier age.

​“The average STEM salary in the Hudson Valley is $73,000 a year vs. $41,000 for the average wage. One of our challenges is to get that information into the schools," pointed out Thom Kleiner. ​“The Career and Technical Education program in Mount Vernon High School is doing a great job delivering that kind of information at an early age to show kids that there's more than one path to employment."

“We want people to understand that Empire City Casino is a huge company with many different types of jobs. Our physical plant is larger than Madison Square Garden and involves many civil engineers to keep it all going on a day-to-day basis. We have an entire floor with 5,300 computers—attracting talent is an ongoing struggle,” explained Taryn Duffy.

“Everything we see or touch has hundreds of job opportunities behind them. Be open and willing to explore. There are different ways to access opportunities and we need to increase awareness,” concluded Gerald Dennis.

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Risa B. Hoag
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