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Legislative Memo

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BILL:

S.2004 (Robach)

  Support

SUBJECT:

Establishes a High Technology Employment and Training Program at NYSTAR

 

S.2004 (Robach)

DATE:

March 18, 2008

 

This bill proposes to establish within the Executive Law a high-tech employment and training program within NYSTAR.  The legislation models its program on the Strategic Training Alliance program authorized under section 16-j of the Urban Development Corporation Act.  The legislation would establish a program of targeted state economic development assistance to address the demand for skilled workers within high tech industries characterized as those which are developing or offering a technology-based product or service and are actively conducting research and development designed to improve a product or service. The legislation contains no appropriation authority.

The Business Council has a long history of supporting investment in workforce skills as a means of attracting and retaining a qualified workforce and supports this bill.

As proposed, the legislation would provide grants which will develop and increase the talent pipeline from high school, to post-secondary to incumbent workers.  The legislation addresses an oft-stated gap between the skills possessed by individuals and those actually in demand by specific industry sectors.  Investing in the continuum is an important aspect of an overall workforce development strategy and one which The Business Council has supported in the past and continues to support.

It is worth noting that, as proposed, the legislation creates yet another “program” targeted to a particular sector.  This sector reflects an important part of New York's overall economy, but is not representative of the overall existing need for the investment or the services needed to keep New York's entire workforce competitive. Sectoral and supply chain business strategies which often benefit from coordinated skill development do not necessarily align neatly with defined geographic boundaries and it is important for any legislation which is intended to provide a sector-based solution to reflect the dynamics of the given sector.

The Business Council supports this legislation but will continue to work with the Legislature to address broader issues related to skill development, workforce attraction and retention as part of an overall business and economic growth strategy.