Orleans Legislature presses state, federal governments for more job training funds

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 March 2017 at 5:15 pm

ALBION – There are currently 225 full-time jobs open in the county, from entry level to more high-tech positions, said David Callard, the chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.

Many good jobs go unfilled in the county because the job demands don’t match the available skill sets, Callard said.

The County Legislature last week urged the state and federal governments to invest in job training, to help unemployed or underemployed Americans boost their skills to fill needs in the economy.

Callard worries Orleans County will miss out on attracting new businesses and expansions because business leaders may not have confidence there are enough skilled workers locally to do the jobs.

“There are 225 full-time jobs available and we’re having trouble filling them for whatever reason,” Callard said. “We need a trained workforce to have businesses come.”

The Legislature approved a resolution last week seeking more federal funds for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. The county used $100,000 in those funds last year to train 50 residents for skills in demand locally.

The Legislature is asking Congressman Chris Collins, R-Clarence, and U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to fight any funding cuts in this job training program.

The County Legislature also passed a resolution asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the State Legislature to fund a state-wide workforce strategy to ensure a pipeline of qualified workers for businesses.

The state should invest in more job training , weighing local, regional and state priorities, the Legislature said. That may include investments in community colleges, adult basic education and other worker training.

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