New York’s Manufacturing Industry & Local Schools Join Forces To Bridge “Skills Gap” And Create Jobs

While “New York is open for business” has largely become a marketing slogan, I’m proud that so many of the Finger Lakes region’s businesses and local schools are coming together to help create jobs and bridge the “skills gap.” Their collaborative efforts aim to ensure the state’s economy and workforce, particularly the manufacturing industry, get back on the right track.
 
According to the Manufacturers Association of New York State (MACNY), manufacturing accounts for 462,000 jobs in New York. As more manufacturing jobs become available, the skills needed and sought after are becoming more technical, requiring a background in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Locally, businesses and schools are coming together to provide today’s students - tomorrow’s employees - with the skills they need to become qualified candidates to fill these roles.
 
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT & TRAINING CRITICAL TO UPSTATE’S ECONOMY
 
Realizing the need for and benefit of a prepared workforce in the region, manufacturing businesses and organizations are partnering with schools to educate a new generation of workers. For example, Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) has been partnering with the Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers Enterprise (FAME) and local businesses to offer forward-looking curricula and certifications that are relevant to regional advanced manufacturing companies.
 
Workforce development and training is an essential part of rebuilding and fortifying the state’s manufacturing sector. My colleagues in the Assembly Minority and I have been long-time advocates of career learning and workforce preparation programs geared toward student participation in career and technical education, including:

  • Rebranding BOCES with a new name of “Career Prep Centers” (A.4080-A, Kolb);
  • Increasing resources for career and technical employees (A.3668-A, DiPietro);
  • Creating the Learning for Work Program in New York high schools designed to accelerate career readiness by offering apprenticeships and enhanced professional degrees (A.8695, Lupinacci); and
  • Removing the Regents requirement for certain career prep center students. 

INDUSTRY NEEDS LESS RED TAPE & LOWER TAXES IN ORDER TO THRIVE
 
As the only legislative leader in state government who has run a successful manufacturing business, I understand the uphill battle business owners in New York are facing. In addition to advocating for career-readiness programs, I will continue to promote measures designed to ease the burdens of business owners and lower the cost of doing business in New York, including:

  • Replacing the new job-killing minimum wage mandate with an expansion of the value of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30 to 45 percent of the federal amount (A.9102, Kolb) and a training wage for youth workers (A.4384-A, Kolb); and
  • The “Small Business Full Employment Act” (A.5898-A, Kolb) proposes tax reforms and credits, prohibits new unfunded mandates, and reduces the regulatory burden on small businesses to create an environment where small businesses can succeed in New York.

Standing firm with New York’s workforce, businesses and educators, I will continue to lead the charge in Albany to improve the manufacturing industry and business climate in our state.
 
What do you think? I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, email me at kolbb@assembly.state.ny.us, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.

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