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Picente strikes optimistic tone in State of the County address

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo

In his State of the County Address, Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said after two years of uncertainty, his county is at a crossroads, but he believes the community is poised for immense growth.

“We need to continue to be bold in our vision, aggressive in our movement, and cast aside negativity from those who resist change," said Picente.

Economic development is at the forefront of Picente's plans, and a big part of that will involve addressing the pandemic's effect on the workforce.

"We must continue to find and pilot innovative ways to attract, retain, and where necessary, train and retrain workers with the skills and education necessary to fill the jobs that are available," he said.

Picente mentioned health care and supply chain challenges in particular, and he's setting a goal of training 200 new healthcare workers and 100 tractor-trailer drivers.

To address the broader workforce crisis, he said the county plans to partner with Mohawk Valley Community College to prepare students for high-demand fields, help employers offer student loan relief as a benefit to new workers, and increase childcare options.

Picente also spoke about attracting more people to Oneida County, including Ukrainian refugees.

“The terrible situation in Ukraine has created a humanitarian and refugee crisis,” he said. “As we have done before, we stand ready to welcome them to our community. We know their worth and what their commitment will be to their new home."

Picente said he wants to highlight the best of Oneida County to attract new businesses, too, and he announced the county's intention to support projects in Rome and the development of the “U-District” in downtown Utica.

“We know that companies come where executives want to be, and that's why we will launch a program aimed at C-suite business marketing,” Picente said. “We are going to highlight our community during our biggest events such as the Boilermaker to the most important company executives."

The county plans to work with the Oneida Indian Nation and Griffiss Institute to create a three-day event to feature the region's food, entertainment, sports, and technology in July of 2023.

To read the whole speech, click here.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.