EDWARD BLAKELY: Good evening. I'm Ed Blakely, the new Dean of the Robert Milano School of Management and Urban Policy. I'm delighted to be here. I just arrived from California and I spent twenty two years at the University of California at Berkeley so I think this is welcoming event. The New School University was founded in 1919 and brought scholars together to talk about important issues and the New School's progenitor was the University in Exile that brought people here who were escaping tyranny and lack of opportunities to speak. It is my great pleasure to introduce Mr. Herman Badillo. Snark.
Mr. Badillo is a product of the New York City pubic schools. A graduate of Brooklyn School of Law. He is a distinguished public servant, having been appointed to the New York Department of Housing Relocation, Borough President and elected member of Congress and Deputy Mayor for Management and Policy in the Koch Administration. Mr. Badillo has moved from one hot seat to another. He now occupies a very important high profile hot seat as chairman of the board of trustees of the University of the City of New York. He is a founding partner of the law firm of Fleshling, Badillo, Wagner and Harding. It gives me great pleasure to introduce Mr. Herman Badillo.
HERMAN BADILLO: That you very much. You didn't mention that I am a graduate of City College. Today, I'm not here talking about the general programs of the City University. As you know, I was appointed Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the City University two months ago and in that period of time I have brought in a new Chancellor, Matthew Goldstein, who is also a graduate of City College and who has been a former president of Baruch. And we are moving to implement new programs. For example, this past Monday, we approved for the first time in thirty years, the idea that there should be a test not just for entry into remedial education but a test for exit out of remedial education so we can be sure that the students who need remedial assistance, and it's a large number, would be ready for college work before they get college work. But I'm not here to talk about that or other issues today. This program has to do with the CUNY Job Engine ö The City University and Local Economic Renewal and it has to begin with a meeting that I had with Neil Kleiman, who had written a report on the part of the Center for an Urban Future, talking about the realities that the City University in the past has not done enough to work with the business community. And I agree with him.
One of the recommendations that he made was the appointment of the Job Czar, which Matt Goldstein and I are moving to do. But he also triggered in my mind some recommendations which I think are important in order to tie the City University with the labor force of the City today. The big problem, as I see it, in New York City today, is that there is a serious mismatch between the labor force of people who live in this City and the people who work in this City. Let me put it this way, today is a typical Wednesday, eight hundred thousand people came into work in New York City from Westchester, Rockland, Orange County, New Jersey, Nassau, Suffolk, Connecticut, Philadelphia. Eight hundred thousand people is more than most of the cities in America. And at the same time, we have a very high unemployment rate in this city. More than eight hundred thousand people, predominantly African Americans and Latinos, who cannot fill those jobs because they are educationally unprepared for the jobs that exist. The gap in our society, I have said many times, is really the gap between the educated and the uneducated and it's our job to see to it that we close that gap by bringing more of our young people into the educated labor force so that they can fill the jobs that actually exist but are being filled by people from outside the City.
I talk to many employers who tell me that they have employees who come in in the morning exhausted. Exhausted because they had to commute for two hours and then they want to go home early because they want to see their family and they would be very happy to have people who live twenty minutes away or a half hour away, because what they want to do is to get the job done and these employees would be more productive. And so I've come to the conclusion and many of us have, that we need to really tie in the City University with the existing labor force. We've done some things already.
For example, only this past Monday, we approved at the City University, by vote of the Board of Trustees, a CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development, which will assist in the development of marketable software and other educational opportunities. We have the Borough of Manhattan Community College working with people in the downtown, Lower Manhattan Association, especially in Silicon Alley, to work in the computer field. Ironically, among all the tragedies that we suffered this past summer, it turns out that John Kennedy Jr. has in the City University an Institute of Worker Education, which supports programs in the area of health, education and social services and the week that he was killed, we had arranged to have lunch the following week because he wanted to expand those programs. But we hope we will be able to do so nevertheless. But the point is, we have developed some programs but not enough.
Last July, Benno Schmidt, the past Chairman of the Board and I appeared before the Association for a Better New York and we talked about the kinds of programs we would like to institute at the City University. What we wanted to do was to take advantage of the reality that we had a large number of City University graduates who are now the CEOs of major corporations in New York City. For example, we have Jack Rudin who is Lou Rudin's brother, who is a graduate of City College and Lou Rudin is the one who is the Chairman of the Association for a Better New York. We have Robert Catell, who is the CEO of Keyspan and a City College alumnus. We have Michael Goldstein, who is the CEO of Toys R' Us and graduated from Queens College. Larry Zicklin who is a financial services leader and is a graduate of Baruch. And I could go on and on. These are people who are working in New York City now and what we want to do is to establish a group of top leaders to work with the City University, including these and other individuals who may not have been graduates of the City University, in order to develop programs that will ensure that the graduates of the City University will be able to have opportunities in the jobs that exist today. We want to, as Neil Kleiman indicated, we want to establish programs to identify what jobs will be available today and for the next ten or fifteen years. We want to look at your community and senior colleges, to make sure that the colleges are training people for the jobs that exist.
For example, the individuals who complain about me, fail to tell you that when I was President of the Bronx, I was the one who was the founder of the Hostos Community College, which was the first bilingual college in the state. And as president of the Bronx I had set up Lincoln Hospital. Those of you who know the Bronx, will know that the new Lincoln Hospital on 161st Street. And I set of Hostos Community College on Grand Concourse and 161st Street. The purpose of Hostos was that the students who specialized in health care careers·.because back in 1968 I figured that health care careers were going to be important thirty years from then, which they have been. And I thought that the students at Hostos could be trained at Lincoln Hospital for the careers that exist. X-ray technician and other technicians, nurses, etc. And ironically, it turns out that Hostos Community College, in fact, has the largest Dominican community of any other college, because that's the first person who was president of Hostos Community College was Dr. Mansley Michelin, who was Dominican. So that's an example of the kind of thing that we need to do with all the community colleges and with all the senior colleges. And working with these top leaders and we hope to have the list ready to announce within the next month, we will be a position to ensure that there will be more opportunities. Opportunities similar to the program that we used to have in the Board of Education, called the Work/Study program, where students can be at work and at the same time can be in the college and then get training for the job so that when they graduate, they can go right into employment. I believe that the two hundred thousand students that we have at the City University can be an important workforce in the years to come. And I want to do everything I can to ensure that a generation from now, the students of today will be making the same contributions to the life of New York City that the students of my generation are making in the life of New York today. We have more CEOs and major leaders, leaders of major corporations who are graduates of the City University than Harvard, Yale or Columbia. That's an impressive record. And if we were able to do that years ago, there is no reason why this cannot be done in the same way today for the jobs that exist. The students have the capacity to learn.
We have a problem, as I have indicated in the past, that unfortunately the Board of Education has had a system of social promotion, which we hope will be eliminated soon, where students are promoted automatically. But as that changes and as we begin to have real standards, the graduates will be in a position to participate and it is my hope that is what will happen and I hope that the panel will make recommendations so that we can begin to implement those programs. Thank you very much.
NEIL KLEIMAN: I'm Neil Kleiman from the Center for an Urban Future. First of all I want to thank Chairman Badillo for those opening remarks. Clearly he raised a lot of points that we want to get into today so without much further comment I want to jump into this panel. CUNY is increasingly making connections to the private sector. There's a lot of success to talk about and there's a lot of future projects that we want to hit tonight. It is my responsibility now to introduce our moderator, who is going to guide us through the rest of the program.
Dr. Joan Fitzgerald, is an Associate Professor here at the Milano Graduate School of Management and Urban Policy. She is also the senior research associate at the New School's Community Development and Research Center. Currently, Dr. Fitzgerald has co-authoring a soon-to-be released textbook on economic development issues entitled, Implementing Economic Development in Cities and Suburbs.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Thank you Neil. For the rest of the evening the procedure is going to be that our three guest speakers will have five minutes or so to respond to the speech and then I will ask them a few questions and then we will open it up to the audience. I would like to ask that the audience focus your questions on the issue that is the subject for tonight and that is CUNY's role in the economic development of the City of New York. Looking at ways to connect education and economic development. I will introduce our speakers and then let them respond.
Roscoe Brown is the Director of the Center for Urban Education Policy and a Professor at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Brown's work focuses on the role of school-based management and parental involvement in school reform. Previously, Dr. Brown served as president of Bronx Community College and is a full professor and the Director of the Institute for African American Affairs at NYU. He is a recipient of the NAACP Freedom Award and the Congressional Award for Service in the African American Community.
ROSCOE BROWN: Good evening. It's very clear that the City University is the focus of a lot of things in this City. Unfortunately, because of some of the negative publicity that has been directed at CUNY and some of our students, the larger community has lost track of the fact that CUNY is a major economic force in this community. Clearly, a university that has two hundred thousand students and graduates twenty thousand graduates a year, has to be a major force. This is more than all the other colleges put together in this city. In terms of economic development, CUNY has long taken the lead at some of its colleges in providing targeted job training, skill upgrading and entry level work for those who want to work in the labor market. The problem has been that despite some of our phenomenal successes, some of them listed in the report that you have from the Center for an Urban Future, the various colleges Bronx, Staten Island, Manhattan, Lehman and so on·.despite that phenomenal success, we have not been able to sustain the funding stream that has made it possible for us to do this.
As noted in the Center for an Urban Future report, when I was president of Bronx Community College in 1986 I developed a Business and Professional Development Institute at the college so that we could coordinate the federal, state and local funds for job training and then develop relationships with the business community and the employment community, indeed long before we had Internet, etc., we had a computerized job search and job training database where any company in the Bronx could call and find out what we had to offer and where it was to be offered and who could take it. Unfortunately, that money, which was mainly funded by state money as well as some federal money, disappeared in the various political efforts to cut taxes and this was one of those things we have throughout our society, saving now or saving later. If you cut taxes and you cut job training programs and you cut education and you cut health care, you will pay for it later. Unfortunately, because of the political climate at that time, even Governor Cuomo, who supported these programs, cut the programs and set up a new program with a new fancy name, which then ended up getting defunded in the Pataki Administration. So that is one point I want to make. The need to maintain and develop funding from both federal, state and local segments.
The second part of it has to do with the business community itself. The business community has to participate as full partners. They cannot expect the University just to serve them when they want to and under their terms. This means the business community needs to develop programs where their workers can get off sometimes and go to classes.
They need to support some of the classes. Maybe use their workplace as a place where they can take the training. NYNEX, for example, now Bell Atlantic, has developed an action program because of the need to raise the skill level of their workforce, actually allowed us at LaGuardia and one of the other colleges, to come and work on their plight to upgrade the skills of those folks. So I am pleading for and I think my fellow panelists will also endorse this, for some type of not only coordinated effort but a well-funded effort.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Let me know introduce Marlene Springer the president of the College of Staten Island. In addition to her administrative work, Dr. Springer is a specialist in 19th century British and American women's literature. She earned her doctorate in English literature and her Master's in American literature at Indiana University. She has published extensively and is currently working on a book entitled Correspondence of 19th Century Women of Letters.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I want to take a slightly different path, I think, and sort of complement Trustee Badillo and Dr. Brown's statements by saying a couple of things. One is that I think that the beauty of CUNY is not only do we turn out CEOs on the one end of the economic spectrum, but we also do a tremendous amount of work with the other end of the economic spectrum. And one of the things that I think in the workforce and job creation process that we always have to keep in mind, is the basic assumption that people want to do meaningful work. And the second basic assumption that we have to face the reality of CUNY and that is that 54-60% of all of our students are women and quite frankly, in some of our colleges, over 85-90% are women. Now, by any other nomenclature, that would be a women's college. That's not the way it happens in New York but one of the things that we also realize is that three out of four women with children are in the workforce.
We also know that the women students whom we have, have special needs, especially toward child care and toward job placement. So that as we look at what we are doing at CUNY, one of the things that we're going to have to continue to be aware of is that our placements in jobs have to be meaningful. They cannot be dead ends. They have to be trained. We also know that two out of three people will change jobs within five years, at least two or three times. And many of our workforce has been in their current jobs only two years. So that there is a tremendous turnover and when we look at job training, one of the things that CUNY is beginning to realize and working very hard towards is that it can't just be training in one specific skill that may no longer exist five years from now. So that we not only have to train our people to do meaningful work and prepare them for meaningful jobs but we're also going to have to train them in team building, in interviewing skills, in communication skills, because to train them to repair Toyotas on the one hand is not going to help much when Toyota goes out of business and they have to work on Chrysler. I think there are various ramifications in what we're doing.
Secondly, we know that New York is unique in that 70% of the businesses in this city are small businesses. And people fight very hard to keep it that way. So that to train and eclectic workforce, especially for our women students, it's going to be supremely important, otherwise we're going to channel them into deal-end jobs and it's not going to be very helpful as the world changes around them.
Let me give you an example, one of the things that we're doing wonderfully well right now is that we have a wide variety of programs in computer training. Ten years from now, we're not going to need programs in computer training. Nobody would think of offering a wide ranging program in telephones. Right? So that we have to be able to develop our courses and we have to be able to change our curriculum rapidly so that we can meet the changing needs of our workforce and we have to make sure that these job training skills are eclectic enough so that they will not dead end our people into jobs and we have to realize that our student body is geographically bound and thus we're going to have to have duplication in some programs, simply because a program in the Bronx is not duplicated when it's given on Staten Island. I think we are doing many, many things in CUNY that we're not given credit for but I think on the other hand we are working very hard to make sure that we can train a workforce that can meet a changing society and not one as Henry Adams has once said, ãI was dealt all the cards for a game that was played in the 19th century.ä We can't be that kind of college and I think one of the wonderful things that we're really trying to do is change with the times. Thank you.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Our third speaker is Kathryn Wylde. She is President and CEO of the New York City Investment Fund. This fund, which was established in 1996, is an affiliate of the New York City Partnership and the Chamber of Commerce. Its commission is to generate jobs and promote economic growth in the City. Ms Wylde came to the Fund after serving fourteen years as President and CEO of the New York City Housing Partnership. During her tenure there, the Housing Partnership sponsored development of more than thirteen thousand owner-occupied homes and rental apartments. Among her numerous board affiliations, Ms. Wylde serves as a member of the CUNY Research Foundation. In addition, she is involved in starting the New Media Incubator of Program in partnership with the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
KATHY WYLDE: I think I am the token business representative here and if you listen to my bio you find out that's something of a stretch but I will try to do that assignment. The economy and economic development are changing in ways that make CUNY a most important strategic player. Probably giving the University a bigger opportunity than it's ever had to be central to the City's economy and economic development policies, because as Mr. Badillo said, the issue is changing from job creation, because right now the economy of this country and the global economy is doing quite a good job of creating jobs. The problem is that to compete at the locality and in the community, we have to have people that are prepared to fill those jobs. And that is going to become more and more an issue as a result of the knowledge-based economy of the next century.
I think part of the problem that I observe and I have had the opportunity to go over and see the jewel of the campus that Marlene has on Staten Island and get to know Borough of Manhattan Community College through developing the City's first new media incubator. By the way it's not at any college but Borough of Manhattan Community College and they've now started a trend at Hunter and others are coming on board from CUNY and even NYU and Columbia. But the interesting point is that CUNY is, in fact, at the front of the pack in their individual colleges. I don't think that story has been communicated and I don't think opportunities for partnership and access by both outside the university or outside the gamut of the individual college president, has really happened. That's the problem. There is a misperception that has obviously been fueled by bad publicity of the last few years and some of the political issues surrounding the issues at CUNY, but I think there's a misperception in very substantial ways and a lack of knowledge about what resources CUNY has. And I think one of the important things about the reports that Neil worked on and the concept of the Job Czar, is that it really is important to have some central place that has information and is able to communicate about what is going on and help put a spotlight on the resources that are at CUNY.
I'll give you a couple of examples. We were working with a venture capitalist in a company that we were looking at an investment in. We're an investment fund that only invests in companies that commit to grow in New York City and we were interested in this company but they came to us and they said, ãWell, our venture capitalists and our board say we will have our headquarters and our marketing offices in New York City but we're going to build a major accounting services and business services business and they assure us that we will never be able to get the talent we need to staff this here and we're going to·.Bridgeport has offered us a good deal to set up our back office operation which employs twelve hundred people. So I got upset by that and I reached out to vice chancellor Louise Mirrer, Academic Dean of CUNY and within two hours she had sent me statistics showing that in the last four years CUNY the combined colleges, had produced seventeen thousand graduates at both the community college and the four year level, as well as graduate programs. Seventeen thousand folks who were trained and prepared to fill jobs. That the perception was by the venture capitalists and the company board, you wouldn't find people in New York that were prepared to take these jobs. And I think that is not an uncommon problem and as we see more and more companies making decisions we recently have been looking at what's been going on in the new media industry and what can we do to capture it. We've to the entrepreneurs here but as companies grow and need more real estate, the cost structure in New York discourages companies from growing here. It's great to come here and have your ideas and get your capital but then they go elsewhere to build their companies.
In the new media industry, the cost is secondary to us. We're looking for availability of skilled people so if we can begin to really make these matches, that's why the incubators are so important. If you look at any community and we looked and we had a lot of experts study why New York was having difficulty competing with California for growth of technology industries, for example, or even Texas or even the research triangle where you come from. It was the lack of ãindustry clusters.ä Industry clusters are a lot of folks in all stages in an industry that work together, suppliers, users, etc. But in every community that has been successful with industry clusters, whether it's the communities around Stamford or MIT, there are universities at the center of that process, who are feeding new talent, moving quickly and especially in this economy, moving quickly to respond to changes in workforce needs and skill needs. And fueling ideas, constant entrepreneurs. I think, based on what I've seen going around on the individual campuses, a lot of that is out there. It just hasn't been organized and we haven't had a way to access and build partnerships.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I asked if I could do an add-on to Kathy's talk to give you a couple of examples. It seems to me that one of the things·.I'll use the College of Staten Island because I know it the best but we work from both ends. We go into high schools and try to get them into a tech prep program so that we get high school students and these are not necessarily honor students. They are just your plain old students like the rest of us were at one time. And get them interested in something so that they can go on into science or whatever else they want to go into. On the other end of the spectrum, we're developing a center for applied technology in which we work with businesses throughout the region to develop new products with polymer chemistry. Now, you can't get further apart, it seems to me than a tech prep student in high school and a scientist working on polymer chemistry but the beauty of CUNY is that we can take those high school students and get them involved in some of the projects that they're doing at the various colleges and one of the things that I tell my students, which doesn't cheer them up but it spurs them on, is that in 1982 there were approximately thirty two thousand robots in this country and now there are over twenty million robots and if they don't want to be replaced by a robot, they're going to have to learn something. How to read well, write well, think well and work with other people. And that does get their attention.
ROSCOE BROWN: One of the things that I would like to bring up, because we've had a very fine rosy series of presentations but having been on the firing line in developing some of these programs there are several impediments, aside from just the question of coordination. I mentioned earlier, funding but also we have the concern about the conflict or the competition between the job training skill development and the academic mission of the colleges. I was at a meeting with Secretary Alexis Herman of Labor who said that something like 70% of the jobs will require a college degree. And I raised the question, did she mean a Bachelor's degree or an Associate's degree? She said Bachelor's degree. I reminded her that over half of the college students in this country are going to community colleges and that most of these technical training programs we're talking about, are in community colleges and that's where many of these jobs are but when we go to the campuses, some of the faculty and some of our supporters are concerned that we become too oriented to job training and therefore are somewhat resistant to getting into this because it isn't just a question of teaching somebody how to program a computer, it's a question of developing their math skills, their language skills, their study skills, their work skills and this is something that happens in academic programs as well as in job training programs so we need to have more participation of our full-time faculty in these areas. We really should not look down upon this. This, of course, has been a conflict in major universities all over the country. To what extent do the universities serve the business and community and to what extent should they just serve the knowledge community. Right now the interaction between the business community and the knowledge community is very, very high. All you have to do is look at the new e-businesses that have come out. Clearly a merging of academic skills and academic knowledge and business. So I want to point that out.
I have some other points I want to direct to the business community but for now, I'm addressing myself to the coordination in the academic community.
JOAN FITZGERALD: I wanted to direct a few questions to the panelists before we open it up to the audience.
In my own research on community colleges and economic development, one of the comments I often make is that no other education institution is asked to do so many things. And this is the conflict that Dr. Brown is referring to, to be an academic institution as well as have this job training or economic development role and it goes beyond job training. It's actually providing technical assistance to businesses as well. And so at one end of the spectrum there's remediation programs for students who don't have the skills to do college course work and at the other end is Associate degrees and there are some community colleges that provide Associate as well as Bachelor's degrees and then with the CUNY system, we also have going clear up to graduate degrees. So it's a lot to expect of any one institution. So I would like to direct a few questions to looking at all these different audiences that the system has to serve and how they see these links being made.
Let me start with the question: we've talked a lot about business. I would like to shift it to the other end of the spectrum now and this is a question more related to welfare to work, and that is we've heard about the programs in software from Mr. Badillo and those in fact are programs that are at the graduate level and so the question I would like to ask of the panelists is, What kind of programs do you have that you consider in the economic development realm that speak to people at the lower ends. And particularly, how are you connecting welfare to work with the rest of the development needs?
ROSCOE BROWN: One of the unfortunate things about the welfare reform initiative in New York City is the fact that the City is taking the position that students shouldn't be going to college. They should be cleaning up parks and shoveling snow and that has made it very difficult because when I was President of Bronx Community College, some 30% of our students were people on public assistance. Now, I understand the number is less than 10%. So that already is a challenge. However, having said that, there is no reason with enough political initiative and some additional funding that we cannot develop programs in welfare to work. For example, the City Council just passed a bill the other day where they want to create ten thousand city jobs for people who are doing welfare to work transition, with benefits and salary. The jobs would be limited to eighteen months but by that time they'll get the skills to be able to go into the workforce. And these would not just be human service jobs. Many of them would be technical jobs. So there is a template out there to make this happen but we have to get passed the mean-spirited idea that people on public assistance shouldn't be going to college.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I couldn't agree more and I think the other thing we've got to realize is that I can't tell you how much we have to reiterate the idea of meaningful work because I think that we have several programs that help people in the transition from welfare to work. One is our nurses' aide training program. But the good thing about these programs is that if you go into a nurses' aid training program, for example, and get a certificate, then that opens the door for you to go on to something else so that you are not just stuck in one particular job that ultimately may be done away with or replaced by, heaven forbid, a robot. So that the problem is, the thing that we have to look at in the way that we have the flexibility to do this, our continuing education programs do a wonderful job at setting up these kinds of programs and giving students a certificate to start with so they have a credential, they can get a job, start to work, see if they are interested in that particular line of work and then go on·.this is the key, go on for something else. This is whether it be computer training, nurses' aid training, medical technology, whatever kind of particular program that we want to go into. The thing that has hampered us, quite frankly, in some of these programs is that when you get, even city grants for example to do these programs, they give you no indirect cost funds so that for every ãgrantä we receive, it costs us so much money to put it into effect that basically we have to be very careful on what we can accept as a grant and what we can't. Because we already are so sparse with resources and to accept a grant that has no money to help pay for electricity, classroom, expansion, teaching, really is a detriment to the college. So you're always caught in that bind. You want to help. You want to work. You want to give the programs and on the other hand you can't hurt the students that you already have by using the resources and the space because space is an issue even when you have·I hate to admit it·.two hundred and four acres, space is still an issue. People will never believe space is an issue but a lot of that is grass.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Let's pick up a little on this concept of meaningful work because I think as we presented a lot of statistics about jobs in the future and the skill levels that are required, there are quite a few jobs in our economy and continue to be that are low paying jobs that have very little opportunity for advancement and one of the ways that community colleges and other community educators have tried to respond to this is by creating career ladder programs, somewhat as you described, in that you start out with a certificate and then move on to an Associate degree and perhaps even go on to a Bachelor's degree. Unfortunately, if we look around the country and we look at the record of these programs, not too many people move up beyond the certificate degree and very, very few move from an Associate to a Bachelor's degree. So I'd like to ask what kind of success have you had in your programs in having students move up and what are you doing to help that process?
ROSCOE BROWN: Again, this is where the business community can help. When you educate people or train people for a particular skill or occupation, if they are not given the opportunity to see the other parts of that particular skill, it's difficult. And that's where placement in the training in the business community, in the work site, are very, very important. The one thing that the Center for an Urban Future report talks about is the bureaucratic impediments to CUNY being the training engine, the workforce engine that it should be. For example in transferring from a community college to a four-year college, instead of having a consistent pattern whereby students finish their Associate's degree and they automatically go into a four-year program, each college has it's own, what is called, articulation agreement and it makes it difficult to shop around. That means those of us who are presidents have to negotiate with each other. I would hope that as we look at communities' expansion into this area, those type of bureaucratic hurdles will be ended. Now, of course they really relate to what I was talking about before. Some of the academic faculty think that community college graduates are unworthy. This of course is clearly not true because if you look at the graduation rate of those who enter community colleges and liberal arts and those who entered other colleges, they are about the same. But we have to look at that and therefore it's a double challenge. It's a challenge to the faculty and to the colleges to facilitate this articulation and a challenge to the community to open up their work sites so that those who are being trained can understand not only about the limited job that they are being trained about but about the industry, about the business, about some of the skills that will enable them to move up.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Let's move to talk about business a little bit. There's been a lot of discussion of the need to work with the business community and one of the statistics we heard is that about 70% of the businesses in New York are small and medium size businesses. What kind of things are the community colleges doing to reach out to those businesses and maybe before you answer that, I would like if Kathy could talk a little bit more about the new media incubator program and maybe explain a little bit about new media. What kinds of occupations you're talking about and the businesses that are partnered with that.
KATHY WYLDE: I know anecdotally some of the programs in terms of minor business assistance centers and small business assistance centers in the CUNY system and I think that's one form of outreach. I have never noted, having worked with them from the outside, that's really integrated into the center of the life of the university. And I guess that's a point that I would come back to, which is once you develop a relationship with the business, figuring out how to incorporate that in the mainstream of your business of education, I think is what is really important and I think there have been one-off programs and that may have to do with their funding sources and what's permitted but I think that there haven't necessarily been a good integration between individual programs and the relationship they establish back into the primary work of education.
In the incubator concept, I think is important. We started it with Borough of Manhattan Community. We went to Borough of Manhattan Community College basically as a landlord because they had a floor that they didn't have money to renovate and we had an incubator that didn't have a home and they were in the information technology district and that seemed like a great opportunity to get together. But what we found was that after we moved in was that they had put together pieces of an environment that would be marvelous for young entrepreneurial companies and that ranged from number one, the infrastructure within BMCC and I'm sure it's true of each of the institutions, they had marvelous equipment that could be of enormous use to young companies, small businesses in particular that were starting up, that don't have access to resources for equipment or demonstration rooms or other kinds of just physical fact that the equipment was there and that is a resource that I think we saw when we went over and looked at BMCC's facilities in the new media lab and met the people running that operation who were top notch and we took in a couple of pretty cynical venture capitalists who were putting their own money into this incubator and they got really excited. They said, ãThis isn't about landlord relationship, this is a much bigger relationship here.ä And subsequently there have been grants for stipends for members of the faculty and students to work with the entrepreneurs and the companies and again, as we said, one of the most important things is feeding new talent into this industry. And I think that we learned a lot in that experience and as a result we are very excited to work with several of the other schools on their development of proposals for creating these incubators. Importantly, the model that we're using is not a conventional university incubator, if you will. It really is a partnership between business. It's entrepreneurial-oriented incubator. The incubator is hopefully going to have pieces of it and the business model is, the incubator as a business, which Borough of Manhattan Community College through a development corporation and everything has done very neatly and legally and I have to say that because Ron Spalter is here.
But the incubator will have a piece of each business that's there and so that the success of those businesses, as they IPO etc, a piece of that will go back to the school, as well as to the venture capitalists. It is a real business partnership that will be self-sustaining and not dependent on government grants or contracts or who likes you next year. So I think that's a very important piece of the model that the business community can help universities put together and I think CUNY is the perfect place to do this. I will say that we also thought it was really important from the civic stand point of the investment funds interest that BMCC is an 85% minority school in terms of their student population and our experience in looking at the potential for the growth of the industry in New York, for the labor force in New York was that there was a real lack of an effort to bring New York's minority population into the new media industry and that this was a way that we really got double value because we were expanding the pool of potential candidates for jobs in this industry to a part of the population that I think has had a relatively minimal role from what we've seen in terms of the opportunities coming down the line.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I'll use Toyota again because I drive a Toyota, is to say to your local Toyota dealer that I cannot set up a full-fledged four-year curriculum in repairing Toyotas and Toyotas management practices because the curriculum in the college is an academic curriculum that is not geared to one particular proprietary institution. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to convince the community that we cannot tailor a whole curriculum to meet that particular need but that the eclecticism of our curriculum will meet needs all across the thing. And we also have small business institutes. I know that at the College of Staten Island, in the past year, we've served over 850 local businesses through out small business institute. We have set up loans for multimillion dollars, facilitated those. We don't loan the money. We don't have it. But it's that kind of outreach that we can do from an academic base but I think the thing we always have to remember, communities colleges, which we have Associate degree programs too, is that we are an academic-based institution and we have to work with our curriculum in that way.
ROSCOE BROWN: Having said that however, certain states, North Carolina for example, have set aside a certain amount of money in their budget to provide to targeted job training in some of the technical colleges and the community colleges. New York has not done that. As a matter of fact, when we started to do it back in the 80s, we were beginning to grow and then when the budget crisis came and they wanted to give tax cuts they cut it out. This is really penny wise and pound foolish. In other words, we have this great engine, we've got the twenty colleges in CUNY but the fact is unless they are funded and coordinated, they will not be able to be maximized in terms of what they can do for the business community. The kind of thing that Kathy Wylde talked about is excellent, the kind of thing we did in the Bronx with small business, the kind of things they do in Staten Island, but these require funding. For example, Marlene says that we got them loans. Well, actually what go them loans was work with the banks. There are certain types of SBA program that can provide loans. They have to be articulated which brings us back the comment in the report and the Chairman Badillo's comment about coordination of these efforts. Coordination of these efforts·..and I don't like the word Czar, because that means you're top down, but coordination has to do with consortiums of people working together and sharing. Coordination of these efforts are very important. The presidents of the colleges have to know what this means and they have to make a commitment to it, which means that sometimes their star faculty may have to be diverted to one of these programs. Similarly the business community, at the top level, not just human resources people, need to be involved in making these commitments. That's what coordination is about and I would say that one thing that should come out of this conversation this evening is the emphasis on coordination, not just having one person to do this because having negotiated literally dozens of these relationships with corporations and other groups, it requires a person-to-person interaction, it requires flexibility on the part of both the business and the college and it requires a commitment that this is something that's important to do and I don't think it detracts from the academic mission of the institution because as Marlene Springer just said, they reinforce each other but there has to be a commitment to do this and I think this is a good opportunity to re-enforce this, not only through the idea of a coordinated effort, somebody to coordinate but also funding. There needs to be targeted funding from the state for this and I think we should opt for that.
MARLENE SPRINGER: Dr. Brown mentioned the state program that existed. There's a very interesting little story in the Center for an Urban Future report that details that New York had a program that was very similar to that in North Carolina and over the years it was eliminated and another one was started and it was cut as well.
EDWARD BLAKELY: My take is having arrived here from California but a lot of states use their unemployment insurance to fund the kind of programs you're talking about. Most state's unemployment insurance is bubbling over with money and that money is used to maintain people in employment and to bring other people into employment. Doesn't New York do that same thing?
ROSCOE BROWN: Again, because of the way that this country operates, where the money is allocated to the states in a block grant, the state then has to make the determination. Actually, much of the money for this important civic training program is federal money that was targeted through legislation, into this particular activity. So that certainly is a good source of money. A good idea. But it's going to require political will. All of these things just don't happen. They happen because the body politic says, ãThis is important.ä And clearly the business community says it's important, the education community says it's important, now it's up to the political community to say it's important.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I want to add something about North Carolina since I was there before I came here. There's a community college in every county in North Carolina and they are all supported primarily by local option and by the state. But one of the things, I think, that we have to do in New York if we're going to in any way imitate that system is that North Carolina also supports its higher education four-year college systems so that you're not put in competition, which is the thing that tears us apart in that our four-year programs and our community college programs are all competing against each other whereas in that particular system, they support both systems and you have a very strong four-year college system and then you have a very politically strong community college system. In fact the former head of the community colleges was a former governor so it is that kind of political climate that enables that. So they are not competing but they are helping each other.
ROSCOE BROWN: And we should note that New York State is 49th out of 50 in support of higher education and that should give us a cause to work for.
JOAN FITZGERALD: Questions from the audience.
QUESTION: I want to bring up the fact that in this very, very rich city of ours, most of the public schools are underfunded, very bad education occurs here. The City University is itself tremendously underfunded. At BMCC, which you spoke about, most of the classes are taught by part-timers. It's an outrage. Here you're talking about it and I suppose there's something positive about getting help from the business community but I hear you talking about is how can CUNY serve business. What I'm concerned about is how can the business community give its tax dollars to support the education of the young people in this city. The mayor and the governor as far as I can see, serve the rich. They don't give a damn about poor people or their children. I'm a parent with a child that goes to one of the better public schools, right around the corner from here, P.S. 41, and even that school is underfunded. But what are the schools like in the poorest districts in this city? And I tell you it's a shock, it's an outrage that this goes on and let's talk about what can we do for business·..that's crazy. What can the business community do for the people of the city. Make education happen and then we'll have something to work with.
JOAN FITZGERALD: I think there is a specific question in what he said and that is one of the criticisms of these kinds of programs is that if we ask for more state money to do specifically economic development programs then it involves the public sector paying for workforce development that businesses should be paying for themselves. So I think this specific question is, can you tell us, in these programs, to what extent to businesses pay their way when you work with business partnership in training their workforce?
ROSCOE BROWN: In some instances they pay their way but in most instances they don't because most of these things come from grants and the argument is sort of a two-way street. The argument is that to get adequate tax money to education people through the community colleges and four-year colleges businesses won't have to retrain because you have the situation, I think it was NYNEX or somebody that in order to get people to work for them, they had to interview fifty people for one particularly job and that is what led them, Bell Atlantic, to fund the training program, education program in LaGuardia, Bronx and Queensborough, I believe it was. But the real key issue which you brought up is inadequate funding of City University. According to the Community College Funding, the city is supposed to put up 33%, the state 33% and the balance from tuitions. Because of the cutbacks in the community college, the City University budget, the city only puts up 22% of what it ought to put up so therefore we need more political action and more outrage and caring. Your outrage is widely directed. Now we have to go to the politicians so that we can get the money that we deserve.
QUESTONER: I have a question, not a speech and this is directed to Dr. Brown but I would like the answers of other people too. Kathy Wylde spoke quite eloquently and I think accurately about the misperception on the part of the business community of the abilities and the quality of CUNY graduates. And I'd like to ask Dr. Brown whether he believes the Chairman and the Board of Trustees of CUNY has contributed to that misperception?
ROSCOE BROWN: I can't speak for the Chairman of the Board but I can't say that the challenges and criticisms of CUNY have not been helpful. And those of us who have been presidents and faculty members know what we do. We can line out all of the jobs that our students·..for example, over half of those working in the computer industry, are graduates of CUNY. City College, for example, graduates more minority engineers than any university in the country and so on. So part of this political in the sense that it is being suggested that people are getting something they don't deserve and therefore we need to make it harder for them. The whole principle of open enrollment came when only a small percentage of the students in City College and the four-year colleges were minority and the legislators said, ÎWe can't have that because it is public money.' And as a result of open admission literally tens of thousands of people of color and low income have been able to enter the job market, professions, etc. and have done extremely well. We are a victim of this idea that poor people somehow don't deserve the help that can be provided in the public sector. I believe that they can. And I believe that this conversation here that shows what we do for the business community and what can happen as we get more training, will help to change this image. We need to talk more about what we do well and try to improve those things that we don't do well. But basically don't do it by just stamping out the fire of hope and opportunity.
MARLENE SPRINGER: I would like to add another example to that. In the past couple of years so much of our debate has been on the difficulty of educating new immigrant populations, instead of turning around and talking about we are one of the only student bodies in the entire world in the majority of our students are most likely bilingual, or multilingual. Now that is a tremendous asset to any business and yet we continue to talk about that as a problem. And it seems to me one of our greatest strength is when we go out there and say, ãOur students can survive in an international, multinational economy because they have the language skills that people in Iowa, North Carolina, Kansas are not necessarily going to have.
WALTER GOLDSTEIN: I would like to put a question that might reverse quite a lot of the debate. I'm an economist from a very wealthy university, the State University of New York and our funding is much greater than that of City University. We've got four hundred thousand students and sixty four campuses. The economic impact of this state university is enormous. It is everything that the City University ought to be in New York City and is not as someone pointed out on all of the lack of financing for the City University. Well, as always, Roscoe Brown put it well. It is really the principle that was first put forward by Richard Nixon, if two wrongs don't make a right, try a third. The first wrong is that the City University is critically underfunded. The result is that 65% of the faculty are part timers and miserable pay and the per capita payment per student is woefully inadequate.
The second wrong is to then strangle off admissions to the City University at a time when they are greatly needed.
But the third wrong, which I think they are putting forward is that the universities have a certain job to do for business. Why don't you read probably the most thorough report of the city economic, which is the Regional Planning Association, which points out that New York City is going to have a deficit of young people. That the workforce is changing. It's changing very rapidly and so therefore the one change, again which Roscoe was talking about, is that our instruction is going to be very heavily computerized. That is one of the things that we lack. We have to teach people to read and to write at an elevated level. That's what colleges are about, to think independently. And all the training that you give them, in order that they will be prepared for all the rest of it, is nothing. They will all have computer skills in five years time. New York City has an employment deficit. Yes, we do have unemployment. There is a mismatch as Mr. Badillo suggested, but let me turn the thing around. The question is, what's business going to do for the university? There is a dearth of people and until business does something which basically means raising business as an issue on the political scene, don't turn to the unfunded universities and say, ãWhy don't we get some job training classes and institutes?ä Yes, we'll do that in any case but how about business looking at the regional economic plan which says we're going to be short of people and do something?
KATHY WYLDE: I think they are very anxious to and are looking for ways. And speaking to the major business owners who are importing trained people from across the ocean and paying heavily for it and going down to Congress to fight to get more visas so that they can bring more of them over. I think if anybody gave them a clear roadmap they would pay the freight. Hunter for example, in the one area of employee skill deficit in clinical research coordinators, just worked with a group that we funded. A company that's owned by one of the major medical centers that is setting up a training program that is being paid for employers. They are ready to pay for getting properly trained people, but those connections have not been effectively built. I think they will be.
BRUCE BERNSTEIN: I'm Bruce Bernstein and I'm President of the New York Software Industry Association. We do have a very extensive relationship with CUNY. I'm a CUNY graduate personal. Queens College graduate, class of '84. We have a number of CUNY graduates on our board, including Jerry Cohen, who is President of the largest software company in New York City, Information Builders. He's a City College graduate. We have developed an extensive relationship with CUNY. The issue with SUNY's funding versus CUNY's funding is really very simple. The upstate Republicans send their kids to SUNY so it's true, and I'm sure Ed Sullivan would back me up, SUNY gets funded and CUNY doesn't.
I came in while Chairman Badillo was speaking so I just came in as he was mentioning CUNY Institute for Software Design and Development, which is really a tremendous program and is being funded directly out of the CUNY budget. It didn't receive special state funding although CUNY and NYSIA are working together trying to get state funding for that out of the new J2K program. I don't know how much he talked about our internship program and the other things we're doing with CUNY. There are issues. There are sort of issues on both sides and there are some subtleties of the thing. First of all, it's absolutely true, CUNY is underfunded and there are basic things in CUNY·.I was an adjunct at Queens for several years and there are basic things in computer science education that the students are not getting, the teachers are not getting, such as equipment in the classroom, display systems, very basic stuff that they get anywhere else in the country and that you can't teach programming without.
On the other hand to see the other side of it, as we've developed our internship program, we have started to see the companies in our association, which are mostly small companies, have started to see problems with the students that have to be addressed. And they are not necessarily simple problems. They are not necessarily problems of ãcapabilitiesä or things like that.
First of all, one basic is English. You have to have very high language skills. You can't just have technical skills and a lot of the immigrant populatio