Liberty Partnership, OET Team To Provide Job Skills

By: Kevin Doonan

NORWICH – From the late 1980s to the present, Liberty Partnership programs across the state have worked with local high schools, endeavoring to keep at-risk students from dropping out as well as ensuring they are provided with the tools necessary to secure a bright future. In Chenango County,  Morrisville State College supplies Norwich, Otselic Valley, Bainbridge-Guilford and Unadilla Valley school districts each with a full-time Liberty Partnership representative who is on call throughout the school day. Recently Morrisville’s Liberty Partnership signed an agreement bringing the Chenango County Office of Employment Training (OET) on board, further expanding the opportunities available for students.

“We will be doing a portion of the program with them,” said Chenango County OET director Gary Waffle. “We have agreed to provide a workforce development coordinator, and one of out staff members will be visiting schools to teach classes, as well as functioning as an employment/training counselor.”

Liberty Partnership is funded through the state education department and 40 separate programs exist in New York, each reflecting the slightly different natures of the colleges which run them.

“Our goal is to keep the students successful,” said SUNY Morrisville Project Staff Associate and Liberty Program coordinator Shelly L. Bartow. “We cater to the needs of individual students, so ensuring success doesn’t always mean the same thing.”

The program provides a broad range of student aid which can be anything from homework help sessions, to assisting students with college applications. In all four Chenango County school districts benefiting from the Liberty program, students can be referred from a number of sources, such as guidance counselors, friends or parents.

Contracting with OET for 2013 will mean a number of new things for the Partnership. At the moment, some of the ideas OET and Morrisville are throwing around include new career work hops and resume help. Another idea the coordinators having been working on is a career summit which would involve all Chenango County students enrolled in the program. The students would get together for the summit and learn about jobs and networking from presentations made by local businesses.

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