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July 12, 2020


State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow visited a Mount Vernon middle school girls' coding camp. Photo Credit: Provided
State legislators visited a Mount Vernon coding camp. Photo Credit: Provided
Chief Judge Janet DiFiore Photo Credit: Provided
U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Centers’ Community Health Fair. Photo Credit: Provided

Around The Towns: Coding Camp, Top Judge Honored, Engel Awards Health Center Money

State Sen. Jamaal T. Bailey, Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow and AT&T New York President Amy Kramer visited the AT&T & NSSA Girls of Color Coding Camp to speak to 30 young participants on the importance of girls engaging in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and career path. 

The two-week program, held at the Benjamin Turner Middle School, is Mount Vernon’s only middle school coding program exclusively for young girls of color. 

Sen. Bailey, Assemblyman Pretlow and Kramer toured the program where students and teachers demonstrated what the young women have learned and shared their final projects -- which focused on curbing cyberbullying and promoting online safety through technology.

AT&T and Northeast STEM Starter Academy (NSSA) partnered to create the AT&T & NSSA Girls of Color Coding Camp, the city’s first free computer coding program for middle school girls of color. The program is an initiative to close gender and diversity gaps in the tech industry and encourage the girls to enter the field of technology, specifically coding -- an industry that is male-dominant. The free two-week program was made possible by a $23,000 contribution from AT&T.

“Jobs are going in a technological direction with all the innovations and advancements we’ve seen in the past decades,” Pretlow said. “The need for coding is rising at a fast rate and our youth need to learn these skills to be able to compete."

“AT&T is proud to collaborate with Northeast STEM Starter Academy to develop and support this innovative experience for girls, as it further enhances our commitment to providing resources for STEM-related educational programming throughout the Hudson Valley and New York, and builds upon our vigorous efforts to bridge the gender and diversity gap in the technology industry,” said Kramer, president, New York, AT&T. “I am so impressed by these remarkable girls and am excited to see their final projects on using technology to curb cyberbullying and promote online safety, critical issues AT&T is dedicated to addressing."

"The AT&T & Northeast STEM Starter Academy Girls of Color Coding Camp is an amazing program that not only empowers women but empowers women of color,” Sen. Bailey said. “As the father of two young daughters of color, I am ecstatic to see opportunities like this for women in the state. Career opportunities in STEM related fields continue to grow, yet sadly, the number of women in STEM has not grown at the same rate. Programs like these are some of the best methods of addressing this issue. By providing access in this field to women of color, it is helping to shape a future where STEM truly reflects our country's great diversity."

Judge Janet DiFiore Earns Columbia Business School Award 

In recognition of her pursuit of excellence throughout the state court system and her adoption of best practices to ensure accountability and eliminate waste and inefficiency systemwide, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore is among the 2019 recipients of the prestigious Columbia Business School’s Deming Cup -- an honor traditionally reserved for leaders in the for-profit business world. 

DiFiore, who is former Westchester County District Attorney, is the first government official to receive the Deming Cup in its 10-year history.

The award, inspired by the late Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s management philosophy focusing on quality and innovation, is presented annually to honor individuals for their outstanding contributions to promote excellence in operations and foster a culture of continuous improvement within their organizations.

The 2019 Deming Cup will be presented by Columbia Business School’s W. Edwards Deming Center for Quality, Productivity and Competitiveness at a ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Since her appointment as Chief Judge in 2016, DiFiore has worked to promote the goals of her signature Excellence Initiative to improve case management, reduce case backlogs, increase productivity and enhance the delivery of justice for New Yorkers.

Under her leadership, the court system has made dramatic strides in eliminating case backlogs in all levels of courts in every part of the state, including New York City’s high- volume courts. Her emphasis on innovation, education and accountability as an organizational way of life is achieving extraordinary results, leading to lower litigation costs and better court outcomes for individual litigants and New York’s broader communities.

“It is a great honor to be chosen for this prestigious award. I proudly accept this honor on behalf of the entire New York State court system ̶ its judges, judicial and non-judicial managers and 15,000-strong workforce. To receive this award along with leaders of some of our nation’s major business corporations demonstrates that sound management practices and intensive focus on productivity and efficiency can lead to excellence and the highest level of service not only in private sector companies but in government organizations as well,” DiFiore said.

This year’s other winners are Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly and UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney. The recipients were selected by a 41-member judging committee comprising eminent figures in business and academia, co-chaired by former Secretary of the US Treasury Paul O’Neill, former CEO of IBM Sam Palmisano and former Macy’s, Inc. CEO Terry Lundgren.

Federal Grant for Mount Vernon Health Center

Congressman Eliot Engel announced that Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center has been awarded a $167,000 federal grant by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For the past 45 years, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center has provided comprehensive, high-quality care to undeserved communities in Westchester County and the Hudson Valley. This federal grant will help it continue its strong and rich tradition of service.

“As I saw firsthand on my recent visit, Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center is a cornerstone of NY-16’s health care system,” Engel said. “Without it, many of our neighbors would not have a place to receive high-quality care. . . . Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center serves as a reminder as to why we must continue funding community-based providers.”

“For almost five decades, the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, Network has been committed to ensuring that residents of our community have access to quality, affordable healthcare,” said Opal D. Dunstan, CEO of Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center. . . .We thank Congressman Engel for always demonstrating his steadfast support of the value our Health Center's mission."