U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a federal grant worth $2,999,970 for the Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie (FMS) Workforce Development Board in Amsterdam. The federal investment will help create new career training opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to help equip Capital Region workers with the skills they need for the jobs of the new economy, and equip local businesses with a highly skilled workforce.
"You won't find harder working people anywhere outside New York State," Senator Gillibrand said. "With the right training and skills, we can fill the jobs of tomorrow right here -- with more of our workers in good-paying, family supporting jobs. When we strengthen our workforce, we can help more local businesses grow, attract new businesses, and set the foundation for a strong and growing economy in the Capital Region. And, the best way to cut the deficit is to put people back to work."
"By creating a flexible talent pipeline system that links our workforce system, employers, educators and workers through a two-step career plan, this grant provides an excellent opportunity for disadvantaged youth, low income adults and dislocated workers to prepare for and enter careers in STEM-related fields," said Gail Breen, Executive Director for the Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties Workforce Development Board. "And we are thrilled to be able to help the employers of our region access the quality workforce they need to grow and thrive in a global economy."
The competitive grant award from the U.S. Labor Department's Workforce Innovation Fund will help fund the Steps Up to STEM project -- addressing the STEM-skill shortage to ensure employers have access to a trained workforce with a new pipeline of highly trained, highly skilled workers. The initiative will emphasize opportunities for disadvantaged young people, low-income adults and workers who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own.
The Steps Up to STEM effort will include a STEM awareness campaign, job seeker recruitment and preparation, employer recruitment and preparation, STEM-focused sector partnerships, individualized two-step career plans, and counseling from professional development career center staff.
Eleven Capital Region counties will have access to the initiative through the Capital Area Workforce Investment Board, the Columbia-Greene Workforce Investment Board, the Fulton, Montgomery and Schoharie Counties Workforce Investment Board, and the Saratoga, Warren, Washington Workforce Investment Board.
According to a 2011 survey by the Manufacturing Institute, more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. Two-thirds of small business leaders and more than half of all business leaders struggle with recruiting employees with the right education and training, particularly for "middle-skill" jobs that require training between a high school diploma and a four-year college degree.
By 2018, 21 of the 30 fastest-growing jobs will require a postsecondary certificate or degree. These jobs make up nearly half of America's labor market, and nearly half of all of the openings over the next decade for highly compensated jobs.
Earlier this year, Senator Gillibrand announced a comprehensive job training agenda, including legislation to create new opportunities at community and technical colleges, support partnerships among academic institutions and local businesses, invest in on-the-job training, and support for workforce training in the industries with the most potential for job growth, such as advanced manufacturing in clean energy, computer science, aerospace and biotechnology. Click here for Senator Gillibrand's complete job training agenda.