American Graduate

American Graduate...

We discuss workforce development in Rochester and the Finger Lakes. A local program has been highlighted by a statewide non-profit for its efforts to help young people gain valuable skills.

We discuss the Green Visions program at Greentopia and the state of workforce development in our area. In studio:

  • Morgan Barry, director of the Green Visions program at Greentopia
  • Tiani Jennings, site manager for the Green Visions program at Greentopia
  • David Miller, graduate of the Green Visions program at Greentopia
  • John Premo, director of community and business services for RochesterWorks
  • Bob Trouskie, director of field services for the Workforce Development Institute

“Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens is speaking out about recent criticism regarding his job as a cashier at a grocery store. Owens was working at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey when a woman’s photos of him went viral. Owens said he felt like some people were job shaming him, but stressed that there’s “no job that’s better than another.”

This hour, we discuss the issue of job shaming with local people who feel they have been criticized for their work. We also discuss the state of the entry level workforce in our area and opportunities to grow within companies. Our guests:

Rochester Regional health

KeyBank made its largest-ever contribution in the Rochester area to a scholarship fund for nursing students at Rochester Regional Health, the two companies announced Thursday.

It’s the second recent effort to make nursing training more affordable locally, after the University of Rochester Medical Center announced last week it was slashing tuition rates for nursing students.

Now, KeyBank has donated $450,000 to fund scholarships to Rochester Regional’s Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Cumming Nature Center is a little oasis about an hour south of Rochester. With miles of quiet trails through swamplands and towering pine trees, it’s a great place to talk about citizen science.

So what exactly does that term mean?

Nathan Hayes, the director of the nature center, says its the “crowdsourcing of scientific information. Multiple people all over the place putting the puzzle pieces together to get the picture.”

There is so much information to collect, Hayes says, that scientists alone can’t do it all. That’s where the rest of us can help. He says people can get involved and collect valuable information wherever they may be.

“We can study -- we should study -- these woods, and not worry about the Amazon. I mean, worry about the Amazon, but you don’t have to go away to contribute to important scientific base of knowledge, you can do it in your backyard.”

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

At Fifth Frame Brewing on St. Paul Street in downtown Rochester, Carolyn Stiles starts talking to me about her favorite beer.

"I really enjoy a good pilsner, like, a well brewed pilsner," she tells me.

Stiles is part of an ever-growing group of craft beer enthusiasts across the country.

Rochester alone has over a dozen breweries experimenting with different malts, hops, and yeasts to make hundreds of local beers. With this rapid growth, Stiles saw an opportunity to start a beer education and appreciation group – just for women.

Rochester Regional health

Rochester Regional Health’s nursing school held an open house Wednesday aimed at expanding diversity in its student body.

Staff at the Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing said they often encounter stereotyped ideas about who belongs in the profession.


New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia made a number of stops in Rochester Monday and Tuesday along with members of her administration and the State Board of Regents.

Regents T. Andrew Brown and Wade Norwood, who are both from the Rochester area were involved with the visit, as was Regent Roger Tiles, who is the Chair of the board’s cultural education committee, and Mark Schaming, Deputy Commissioner for Cultural Education.

Beth Adams/WXXI News

Some Rochester residents who dropped out of high school, served time in prison, or simply struggled with establishing a career, are learning the skills of the construction trade.

Andy Evans, a master builder with years of experience, is offering classes in a former church on Buffalo Road in Gates. Evans said someone once taught him how to do this work when he was younger.

"I was at a part of my life where I could have gone down the wrong road," he said.  Now, Evans wants to help young men who haven't found a good paying job or a career they like.

What if the most common narrative about millennials turned out to be untrue? According to the latest data, that seems to be the case. We're talking about how often younger workers change jobs. The oft-heard assumption is that millennial workers have to be ready for many career changes, due to an unstable economy. Another is that millennials want to change jobs often to allow themselves to refresh and refocus. But Lyman Stone's piece for Vox deconstructs those ideas, and offers a warning for what it means.

Our guests:

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week at Bishop Kearney High School to celebrate the launch of a new greenhouse program.

The school received a $15,000 grant from the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority to build the 10 x 12 foot greenhouse.

Principal Jason Simoni said the idea sprouted from a conversation students were having in the cafeteria about their lunch, and wondering why some fruits weren’t available at certain times of year.