8:36am

Thu February 20, 2014
The Upstate Economy

Labor secretary highlights high-tech manufacturing in visit

The United States Labor Secretary visited central New York Wednesday to announce a new workforce training grant program and to put a focus on advanced manufacturing.

Labor Secretary Thomas Perez went to the Fulton Companies in Pulaski and then on to the Center of Excellence in Syracuse. Perez, a Buffalo native, was promoting a $150 million workforce training program targeting the long-term unemployed.

"If we reduce that long term unemployment rate to the rates that it’s usually at after recessions, we could bring our unemployment rate down to the low fives," he said.

While that part of upstate New York has among the highest unemployment rate in the state, Perez says advanced manufacturing is the solution.

"What I’m excited about in my visits here is you see the renaissance of the region and you see the renaissance of advanced manufacturing in particular," he said.

Perez says about 30 grants could be made out of the program for on-site job training and paid apprenticeships.

"It’s designed to incentivize partnership between business, between workers, between local providers of workforce services, including community colleges, four year institutions and others."

The grant is funded by the fees companies pay to bring in foreign workers through H1-B visas.