For every business, from healthcare and high fashion to global corporations, success or failure ultimately comes down to the people involved and the ideas, skills and experience they bring with them. Westchester County is well known as New York’s Intellectual Capital®, connecting businesses with the resources they need – especially human resources.
“What gives NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division a strategic and competitive advantage is the intellectual and emotional capital available in the area,” says Sedrick O’Connor, Director of Human Resources and Employee Relations. “We have the best and most dedicated workforce possible because our employees not only have exceptional knowledge, skills and abilities, but they also exemplify our core values of respect, empathy, excellence and teamwork.”
Preparing the future workforce requires an innovative, flexible approach.
Cynthia Rubino, Campus Operating Officer for Berkeley College’s Westchester campus, notes the college’s quarter-based schedule, instead of traditional semesters, allows a career-changer to earn an associate’s degree in as little as 18 months. “Career preparation is where we excel,” she says. “For us, Intellectual Capital is the workforce preparation, so when the county attracts these new employers to the region, we’re able to fill the jobs.”
All students at Berkeley College – no matter which major or degree they’re pursuing – must participate in an internship that gets them out in the field. “We want them to know how to function in the business world – and that includes everything from fashion to criminal justice,” Rubino says. “They need to know how to go to work, how to dress for work and every aspect of the working world.” With a laugh, she adds, “Office politics – that’s a tough lesson!”
Rubino regularly attends business and civic dinners, taking groups of students with her. They are given 10 business cards and told to “work” the room, returning with 10 business cards of contacts they’ve met and then following up the next day with an e-mail thanking their contacts for taking time to speak to them. Those contacts often translate into future internship opportunities.
The college does plenty of its own networking with the county and The Business Council of Westchester, making sure it’s meeting the needs of the business community.
“Economic development is no longer about filling real estate,” says Dr. Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of The Business Council of Westchester. “Filling real estate is a byproduct of economic development and marketing. The people of the Hudson Valley are a resource – our workforce is better educated – and that helps us market the county and grow businesses in clusters, like the biotech and food and beverage clusters. We can market Westchester as having the right talent and employees. The real key for any company is having the right talent.”