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APRIL 1998

With strong support from the Assembly, the Legislature approves a bill that would provide funds for job training to consortia of business and industry

The Legislature has approved a $10 million worker training program - a proposal that had been strongly supported by The Business Council.

The Strategic Alliance Training program calls for training funds to upgrade the skills of existing workers.

"This is New York's first training program in which funding is directed to consortia of employer groups," said Brian McMahon, The Council's specialist in economic development.

"The Business Council endorsed this approach because business knows best what skills its workers need and how best to develop and deliver appropriate training," he added.

The legislation was developed and strongly promoted by the Assembly majority, especially Robin Schimminger, chair of the Assembly Commerce Committee and sponsor of the bill.

The bill passed after a strong grass-roots lobbying effort by The Business Council and many regional manufacturing organizations. The approved version included some amendments suggested by The Business Council, McMahon said.

Under the bill, an eligible applicant for funding is defined as a strategic training alliance, network or association of employers with common problems or concerns, or a private industry council representing a strategic alliance.

Potential training providers include colleges and universities (including community colleges and agricultural and technical colleges), local education agencies, community-based organizations, and strategic alliances that will cooperate with another provider in delivering training.

Grants can be used for the costs of classroom training, curriculum development and training materials.

The bill specifies that 25 percent of the total appropriation will be used to support projects that benefit small business. Ten percent of the appropriation is earmarked for training of individuals who are unemployed, dislocated or economically disadvantaged.

"This legislation is tailor-made for regional employer organizations that either currently provide training programs to their members or will in the future," said Daniel B. Walsh, president of The Business Council. "This is a step in the door to meeting the skills needs of New York's employers and workers."

April 16, 1998