Making a Difference: The Impact of Licensed Professionals

Photo collage of health, design, and business professionals

The professions licensed by the State Education Department offer rewarding careers. More than that, licensed professionals help individuals and communities every day.


Making a Difference: School Vision Health Initiative

The School Vision Health initiative, a partnership between the New York State Education Department, the New York State Optometric Association (NYSOA), the New York State Society of Opticians (NYSSO), and VSP Global, provides no-cost comprehensive eye exams and glasses to students in need. Since 2017, week-long vision clinics occurred annually across the state.

  • Volunteer doctors of optometry conducted 483 comprehensive eye exams, and free eyeglasses were prescribed and provided to 358 students.
  • More than 50 NYS licensed optometrists and opticians participated.
  • In addition, VSP Global donated over 500 Eyes of Hope gift certificates to assist students with no-cost eye exams and glasses.

Below are video overviews of the October 2018 and March 2019 events featuring the work of NYSED, VSP, and the New York State licensed professionals who volunteered their time.

Music: “Perspectives" Kevin MacLeod (
License: CC BY

Music: "Inspire" from

If the videos do not appear in your browser, you may view them on the Vimeo website: October 2018 video, March 2019 video

Making a Difference: Future City

Collage of students demonstrating their Future City models

Future City is a national project-based learning program sponsored by Discover E and National Engineers Week. Students in grades 6-8 work with a teacher-coach and engineering mentor to design their future city. Each year’s theme relates to making the world a better place. This year’s theme was Powering Our Future! (designing a resilient power grid).

  • The State Education Department and the Office of the Professions welcomed local student teams from the 2019 Future City Competition.
  • The participating teams include Coxsackie-Athens Middle School and Richard H. O’Rourke Middle School (Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake). O’Rourke Middle School won the regional competition and placed 9th out of 44 teams and won the specialty award for Best Futuristic City at the National Competition in Washington DC.

  • The teams demonstrated and described their projects. In addition to applying the science, they worked to organize and communicate their ideas for a broad audience.

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Last Updated: August 8, 2019