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Cayuga County targets workforce development as jobs return

Payne Horning
Chad Moutray, Chief Economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, presents at the annual Cayuga Economic Development Agency's forecast luncheon.

At an economic forecast luncheon in Auburn, local officials were optimistic about Cayuga County's recovery. The county has recouped more than 90 percent of the jobs it lost in the recession and the unemployment rate continues to decline. Now the challenge is preparing the local workforce for those openings.

Cayuga Economic Development Agency executive director Tracy Verrier says a survey of local business leaders shows that there is concern over the availability and skill-level of the local workforce.

"We are seeing more job openings, which is fantastic, we just hope we can create the workforce to not only fill the openings we're getting from our existing business but be able to attract new businesses as well and have the types of positions available for the types of companies we want to join us here in our community," Verrier said. 

The need for skilled labor is a nationwide phenomenon, but Verrier says Cayuga County leaders are doing something about it. The economic development agency is teaming with the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce to create a task force that will assess the needs of local business and develop strategies to meet them.

Verrier says that will also mean working with Cayuga Community College and BOCES to ensure its training opportunities fit with local needs.

"One piece of it is just making sure people understand that the trades are still important and those jobs are available and they're good-paying jobs and making sure that people are going into those trainings, including high school kids going to BOCES or adults looking for a new path in their career," she said.

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.