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For Release — January 12, 2015

Public Policy Institute and Citizens Bank introduce initiative to promote workforce development through business engagement in STEM education

Troy, N.Y.—The Public Policy Institute of New York State (PPI) and Citizens Bank today announced an initiative to engage more New York businesses with public education to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The initiative was announced Monday, January 12, during a visit to the Riverfront P-TECH academy, a partnership of The Troy City School District, Hudson Valley Community College and the three corporate partners – Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, GE Healthcare and Simmons Machine Tool Corporation.

Responding to the growing shortage of workers to fill “middle skills” jobs that require more education than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree, PPI will create a tool kit for business that maps a successful strategy for partnering with public schools that are part of the Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) program. The Citizens Bank Foundation is providing a $50,000 grant to fund the creation of the toolkit.

“At Citizens Bank we strongly believe in investing in organizations that are making a difference by promoting workforce development and economic vitality in the communities where we do business,” said James P. Gaspo, President of Citizens Bank in New York. “We recognize the difficulty that many businesses have in filling critical middle skills positions within their companies. The toolkit will help provide opportunities for businesses throughout the state to engage with educators and meet a need in the communities we serve.”

By 2018, businesses in New York State are projected to create one million “middle skill” jobs, according to data compiled by Jobs for the Future and The Business Council of New York State. These middle-skill jobs will make up 39 percent — the largest portion — of all jobs in New York state by 2018. The data shows this gap continuing to widen as the supply of recent graduates prepared for these jobs is projected to decline by 2025.

“The business community recognizes the urgency in closing the middle skills gap, and that jobs in the STEM field play a major role in driving the state's economy. This data shows that New York's growing STEM economy will be stifled if we do not find innovative ways to help schools better prepare graduates to fill good paying middle-skill jobs,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State and a member of the New York State P-TECH Leadership Council.

There are currently 27 P-TECH model schools in New York, Illinois, and Connecticut. New York State plans to launch 10 more schools next fall and has proposed tripling the number of P-TECH schools by 2016.

“The Business Council and the New York State P-TECH Leadership Council recognized the need to get more businesses engaged in education partnerships. The purpose of the toolkit is to provide businesses interested in forming such partnerships with a road map to follow, based on the successes of current NYS P-TECH partners,”  said Briccetti.

About The Public Policy Institute of New York State
The Public Policy Institute of New York State, Inc. is the not-for-profit research and educational arm of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. Its purpose is to formulate and promote public policies that will restore New York's economic competitiveness.  The Institute accomplishes this mission by conducting timely, in-depth research addressing key state policy issues.  

About The Business Council of New York State
The Business Council of New York State, Inc. is the leading business organization in New York State, representing the interests of large and small firms throughout the state. Its membership is made up of thousands of member companies, as well as local chambers of commerce and professional and trade associations. The primary function of the organization is to serve as an advocate for employers in the state political and policy-making arena, working for a healthier business climate, economic growth, and jobs.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group Inc. is one of the nation’s oldest and largest financial institutions, with $131.3 billion in assets as of September 30, 2014. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, the company offers a broad range of retail and commercial banking products and services to individuals, small businesses, middle-market companies, large corporations and institutions. Consumer Banking helps its retail customers “bank better” with mobile and online banking, a 24/7 customer contact center and the convenience of approximately 3,200 ATMs and approximately 1,200 Citizens Bank and Charter One branches in 11 states in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. Citizens also provides mortgage lending, auto lending, student lending and commercial banking services in selective markets nationwide. Citizens Commercial Banking offers corporate, institutional and not-for-profit clients a full range of wholesale banking products and services including lending and deposits, capital markets, treasury services, foreign exchange and interest hedging, leasing and asset finance, specialty finance and trade finance.

Citizens operates via subsidiaries Citizens Bank, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. Additional information about Citizens and its full line of products and services can be found at www.citizensbank.com.