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Alfano Gives Keynote Address to FBLA

Assemblyman Tom Alfano gave the keynote address at the annual FBLA conference held on a recent Friday at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. The conference brings together hundreds of high school students from throughout Nassau and Suffolk Counties to discuss business, strategies and future opportunities. Alfano was nominated to give the address by students from Elmont Memorial, Floral Park Memorial, New Hyde Park, Valley Stream, Sewanhaka and Carey High Schools.

“This is such a great honor. For me it was inspiring to talk to budding entrepreneurs who are our nation’s future CEO’s and small business owners. These young adults are going to be the driving engine of our nation’s economy in years to come,” said Alfano. “I want to thank the students in Elmont, Floral Park, Franklin Square, Valley Stream, New Hyde Park and North Valley Stream for this invitation.”

Alfano was welcomed to the conference by FBLA chairperson Christina Kelly of Elmont Memorial High School, who served as the chair for the island-wide conference. Students from Floral Park Memorial, led by Courtney Sokel, Carey High School, led by Louie Cona, and Elmont Memorial High School, led by Kelly, introduced Alfano to students from the participating high schools at the conference.

“I’ve know Assemblyman Alfano since I was in the third grade at Dutch Broadway school. He has inspired me and encouraged me to to strive for my goals and it’s an honor for me to introduce him to all of us here today,” Kelly said.

FBLA hosts annual conferences where members compete and develop business skills through a variety of strategies, simulations and competitions. The conference attracted hundreds from throughout Long Island.

Alfano centered his remarks on opportunities Long Island has today to grow our economy and create jobs. Specifically, the Assemblyman discussed the Lighthouse Project and economic development initiatives at Belmont Racetrack.

Students applauded Alfano’s plan to develop Belmont Park’s south lot into a job-creating center revolving around either an outdoor walk-able mall or semi-pro soccer stadium with shopping. “We must transform Hempstead Turnpike and Belmont into a destination point. Right now it sits there vacant, cold and lifeless. The people suffer because of it and it could be so much more. It’s going to happen,” he said.

Alfano also outlined the Hempstead Turnpike revitalization initiative created through the auspices of the Elmont Coalition for Sustainable Development. “This is a plan that incorporates business, community and people power. It’s working and it will transform the community at large,” he said.

The Lighthouse project and the possible job-creating potential and business opportunities was another foundation of Alfano’s remarks. The Assemblyman expressed his support of Lighthouse but noted that questions about traffic and viable housing initiatives for young people needed to be addressed. “If we don’t have forward thinking on these ideas, and refuse to challenge the status quo, we will promote a brain drain on Long Island by driving young people away. We can’t allow that to happen,” he said.

During the question-and-answer period after Alfano’s remarks, the Assemblyman fielded questions about business strategies, his ideas on rejuvenating communities and concrete steps young people can take to get involved and foster a better economic outlook on Long Island.

Alfano concluded his remarks by discussing ways that members can “get a leg up” in the business world by studying foreign languages, getting involved in their communities, participating in the business world through internships, networking with people and by practicing and developing good communication and writing skills.

Future Business Leaders of America is a club/organization in high schools that encourages and gives young people the tools to realize their dreams of entering the business world.