News Release

 

 

For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000
countyexec@co.dutchess.ny.us

For Immediate Release

January 29, 1999

 

County Executive's Workforce Development Group Preparing To Lead Workforce Into Technology Era

 

Poughkeepsie, NY - This morning County Executive William R. Steinhaus met with the Workforce Development Group he created to hear a presentation on building an effective local workforce development system.   Making the presentation was John Twomey, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals.  Twomey stressed to the group of community leaders the need to build a system designed to produce workers with the skills that businesses will require in the future.

The Workforce Development Group is a unique and diverse public/private sector partnership aimed at providing information and services that unite the needs of both the workers and the employers. The group is composed of partners representing employers, labor, economic development, education and social services. This partnership will allow the Poughkeepsie Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Southern Dutchess Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development to convey the needs of business. Dutchess Community College, BOCES and other educational and training groups can use this information to begin preparing potential applicants for the skills that businesses require. "By the year 2000, 95% of all jobs in the United States will require workers who are familiar with computers and other information processing technologies," Steinhaus stated. "If we can provide our residents with the necessary skills, then Dutchess County's economic future will be very secure, and after all, that's our goal."

The meeting focused on the development of a "One Stop" program. The program will act as a clearing house where employers can turn and request that their existing workers' skills be upgraded or that they require new workers with certain skills. A person seeking a new job would also be able to find out, for example, what skills pay 50K, where they can receive training in those skills and which employers would hire workers with those particular skills. "Today we have somewhat of a fragmented and disjointed system that we need to improve by consolidating into a cohesive Functioning unit," said the County Executive. Twomey added, "It's those pockets of excellence that need to be united."

"Economist Lester Thurow stated that 50% of America's workers have the skills to be knowledge workers, but 85% of the new jobs created require knowledge workers," said John Twomey, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals. "This is the trend of the future." A knowledge worker is someone considered to have the ability to do math and reading at the 9th grade level, to be able to form a hypothesis and use a computer.

One project of the Workforce Development group is to create a one-stop career center where both employers and job seekers can turn for assistance. At each one-stop career center people will be able to receive training as well as information regarding jobs and career advice. "Through these centers we hope to create a labor force comprised of knowledge based and high skilled workers that will attract even more high paying jobs to Dutchess County," Steinhaus added.

"What makes the concept of the one-stop career center so appealing is that the entire Workforce Development Group is involved in the process," Steinhaus said. "The dialogue between these partners can help focus the entire county. Already Dutchess Community College is training employees for Micrus and for the Postal Encoding Center. BOCES have begun a machinists training program because employers in the area have complained about a shortage of machinists."

During the meeting Twomey pointed out that in New York State being a machinist's is among the top seven occupations and a machinists' salary on average is better than that of someone with a 4 year college degree. "Yet no one tells kids this," he said. "The one-stop centers will."

"For example, in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement there is a 'Live Long Learning Credit' which is a $1000 tax credit for those who want to return to school for further training and no one knows about it." The County Executive said, "Our one stop center will make people aware of these opportunities.

"At one time you could drop out of high school on a Friday and go to work at GM on a Monday. But today a good mechanic needs to understand electronics and do computer diagnostics, and they earn upwards of sixty thousand dollars a year," Twomey continued. "Today we have a surplus of low skilled workers and we are short 400,000 high skilled workers." Steinhaus stressed, "Our goal is to harness the existing high skilled and high-tech talent that we already possess and, with their help, create the next generation of high skilled and high tech talent."

Workforce Development was highlighted in the Executive's recently delivered State of the County Address as one of the top 1999 agenda priorities.

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