$5.2 Million in Worker Training Dollars Provides Much-Needed Stimulus for Capital Region Residents
Gas Cards, Bus Passes, Other Transportation Soon to be Available to Unemployed Residents of Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Saratoga Counties
Albany, NY (April 16, 2009) - Joined by local officials at a news conference in Albany, State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith today announced that the Capital Region will receive $5.2 million in training funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This training money is critical in light of the fact that for every three unemployed workers in New York State, there is currently only one job opening. The funding encompasses a wide range of training opportunities for adults, youth and dislocated workers in Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Warren, Washington, Columbia and Greene Counties. Training will take place in a variety of fields, including emerging industries such as green, health care and advanced manufacturing.
"The time is now and the climate is right for workers to retool their skills so that when the economy does pick back up, they'll be ready," said Commissioner Smith. "Training programs such as these are exactly what this stimulus package was intended for, and now is the time for New York's workers to show what they can do."
“Rebuilding our economy into one that is driven by innovation and green energy development will take more than investments in technology and research and development,” said Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam). “We will need to provide training and assistance to workers to get them ready for the jobs that will be created by our new economy. The New York State Labor Department stands ready to use the millions of dollars that will be provided through the Recovery Act to quickly get job seekers into training programs. The training programs will include those targeted at preparing workers for new jobs in construction and manufacturing as a result of the greening up of our economy.”
Commissioner Smith also announced that, within the next two weeks, unemployed residents of Albany, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties will be able to receive transportation assistance through gas cards, swiper cards, or reimbursement of mileage or public transportation expenses. The Workforce Investment Board for each of these counties will receive $6,250 that may be used to help pay transportation expenses for unemployed workers to access services at One-Stop Career Centers, apply for jobs, attend interviews and receive training.
"Every little bit helps, which is why expanding this transportation program for the unemployed from rural to suburban and urban areas makes perfect sense," said Commissioner Smith.
The vast majority of the training dollars under the stimulus package funds will be awarded directly to local Workforce Investment Boards and they will be tasked with allocating the funding within their respective areas. In the Capital Region, the Capital Region Workforce Investment Board, the Columbia-Greene Workforce Investment Board and the Saratoga/Warren/Washington Workforce Investment Board will distribute the training dollars to local communities.
Currently, individuals in Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer Counties can visit their local One-Stop Centers to receive training through Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) in green collar jobs. HVCC is offering a variety of programs leading to certificates that are approved by NYSERDA.
Columbia and Greene Counties plan to use stimulus dollars to provide mini-training accounts for youth, with the ultimate goal of helping disconnected youth segue from short-term summer employment to long-term, permanent employment.
Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties plan to train workers in Microsoft Office so they can better compete in the world of business; LPN training to address critical health care shortages; and hands-on training with advanced manufacturing devices to prepare adults to re-enter the workforce in the mechanical technology industry.
Individuals in the Capital Region interested in training opportunities or transportation should visit the following One-Stop Career Centers for more information:
Rensselaer County One-Stop Career Center
Saratoga County Employment & Training
Schenectady Job Training Agency
Warren County Employment & Training
One-Stop of Washington County
Columbia/Greene Community College