Hochul Holds Closing the Skills Gap Roundtable with WNY Business Leaders

April 16, 2012 Updated Apr 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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Hochul Holds Closing the Skills Gap Roundtable with WNY Business Leaders

April 16, 2012 Updated Apr 16, 2012 at 11:44 AM EDT

(WKBW release) After introducing School-to-Work legislation last month and speaking with education institutions throughout Western New York, Congresswoman Kathy Hochul on Monday held a follow-up roundtable discussion with local business leaders in an effort to learn about their employment needs.

“Every day I hear from companies in Western New York about their inability to find enough American workers with the sufficient technical skills and training to meet their needs,” Hochul said in a news release.  “One-quarter of American businesses currently have open positions for which they cannot find qualified candidates, which is why partnering our local businesses with our local schools will provide our students with the sufficient skills to meet the needs of these fast-growing industries.”

“The senior Human Resources Executives in our group collectively believe the conversation needs to focus on transferable skills to last a lifetime and not about jobs which have a short shelf life in a constantly changing world,” said Thomas Fenter, Senior Vice President for Human Resources at HealthNow.  “We are in support of any initiative which brings business and higher education together in an active collaboration to focus on building these transferable skills in curriculums to significantly enhance the professional success of our young people in Western New York.”

According to a news release:

Last month, after holding similar roundtable discussions with 17 higher education institutions across Western New York, Congresswoman Hochul introduced the Workforce-Ready Educate America Act.  This bill encourage partnerships between employers and educational institutions by providing employers with a $1,000 tax credit per student participating in a qualified technical training and skills partnering program. 

Hochul added, “Western New York has a chance to lead the country in innovation.  If we continue to capitalize on emerging sectors of our economy and give our businesses the opportunity to connect with our students, we will be at the forefront of economic growth, while at the same time keeping our local talent right here in Western New York.”