Immediate Release

 For Information Contact: 

Thursday, February 28, 2020

David Mathis

Eannace:  WIB Awarded $2.6 Million Federal Grant
to Train 700 People in High-Demand Careers
in Herkimer, Madison & Oneida Counties

Oneida County Executive Ralph J. Eannace Jr. and Congressmen Sherwood Boehlert today announced that the Workforce Investment Board of Herkimer, Madison and Oneida Counties has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to fund the Mohawk Valley Technology Training Project, which will provide training for about 700 area residents in the high-demand career areas of technology, health care and education.

"The Mohawk Valley is building an exciting new economy. This grant will help local resident upgrade their skills to become part of these growing fields," said Boehlert, a strong supporter of the project who worked aggressively with the U.S. Department of Labor to secure the grant. "This project is one more example of my effort to help Mohawk Valley employers continue to compete against the world and win. By adding to the pool of skilled workers in our area, we are increasing our ability to grow. I want to thank Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and her staff for their support of our region and their investment in its future."

"Our regionís economic recovery efforts have been led by cooperative and aggressive projects that are building a foundation for the future," Eannace said. "In this project, the Workforce Investment Board is bringing together 25 partners to work as a team. This project is a major step toward creating a sustainable long-term economic recovery. Our small technology employers are growing every year. Our health care industry needs highly trained professionals. Our schools need the best math and science teachers possible to keep up our momentum. This project addresses all of those needs. It builds a pipeline that will supply these key parts of our economy with the talented workers they need for today, and for tomorrow."

Eannace praised Boehlert for his strong support of the proposal. "Congressman Boehlert was this projectís champion in Washington. He used his experience in Washington to work closely with the Department of Labor to help our region. On behalf of the employers and job seekers who will be served by this project, I want to thank the congressman for his efforts."

"One of the key ingredients for our regionís long-term economic future is to build up a highly skilled workforce that will make existing employers more competitive and make our region more attractive to new employers," said Rocco J. DiVeronica, Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors. "This cooperative effort puts us further along that road."

The project, which was assembled last summer in cooperation with local employers, takes on new significance in light of the economic changes since September 11th.

"Our region has many men and women with a solid work ethic who need new skills to make the transition to new jobs," said Anthony Maneen, Chairman of the Herkimer County Legislature. "This project allows them to learn the skills they need to stay in our region and grow along with our economy. This effort will greatly help our job-seekers and employers in this time of transition."

David Mathis, Director of the Oneida County Office of Workforce Development and Acting Director of the tri-county Workforce Investment Board noted that this grant was one piece of the WIBís efforts to help the regionís employers and job seekers.

"This grant brings to over $6.5 million to money brought into our region while the WIB was under the leadership of former Executive Director John Holt," Mathis said. "John has left us a legacy of a stronger workforce and greater opportunities for the men and women of our region."

Mathis also noted that the project includes outreach efforts that will target major segments of the regionís population.

"Our recruiting efforts will be conducted through the One-Stops in Utica, Rome, Oneida and Herkimer in cooperation with the New York State Department of Labor and many local partners," he said. "Our efforts will include a special focus on the rural areas of Herkimer and Madison counties through partnerships with the Employment and Training units of each county, our regionís pool of older workers, by working with the Oneida County Office for the Aging and its partners, women, by working with the Womenís Employment Resource Center; minority residents, by working with the Cosmopolitan Center; and individuals with disabilities, through a partnership with the Resource Center for Independent Living."

The Mohawk Valley Technology Training Project will be funded through the U.S. Department of Laborís H-1B Training Grant program. The grants are paid out of a fund that comes from fees paid by employers seeking visas for foreign high technology workers. The goal of the program is to increase Americaís supply of highly skilled workers.

The Mohawk Valley Technology Training Project seeks about $2.6 million over two years for training in the high technology, health care and education sectors. Most training will funnel through a consortium of training providers that are part of the Working Solutions One-Stop System. Employers can also train existing workers through a separate piece of this project. The third component funds summer internships in these areas on a regional level, building upon the highly successful Oneida County College Student Corps.

The pool of area residents who can be trained includes employed workers who need training so that they can retain their jobs and increase their earnings by moving up a career ladder; under-employed and unemployed residents who have the ability to achieve competence in technology jobs, but may lack training and/or opportunities and emerging workers who are attending local colleges and universities.

The project seeks to involve about 700 participants Ė 50 emerging workers and 650 unemployed, under-employed and incumbent workers.

For emerging workers, the project will fund 50 seven-week internships in high-demand areas.

Unemployed and under-employed area residents can be eligible for training scholarships worth up to $2,500 per year. The project will create 300 scholarships for unemployed or under-employed residents. Fifty of these have been set aside for the regionís health care industry.

Employed area residents can be eligible for career advancement scholarships of up to $3,000 per year. Training can include a mix of certificate programs, degree programs, and training that results in higher skills that can be measured by an industry-accepted license, certificate, etc. The project will create 300 scholarships for employed residents.

The projectís partners include: AFSA Data, NET Design, Fiber Instrument Sales, Dart Communications, NYSTEC, Cathedral Corporation, PAR Government, Mohawk Valley Network, Oneida Healthcare, the Utica City School District, all three regional BOCES, Utica College, SUNYIT, SUNY Morrisville, MVCC, HCCC, the Utica School of Commerce, Resource Center for Independent Living, Oneida County Office for the Aging, Cosmopolitan Center, Mohawk Valley EDGE, Mohawk Valley Chamber of Commerce and Central New York Labor Agency. More employers will be eligible to join at a later date.

Mathis said implementation of the outreach efforts and scholarships is expected to begin this spring.