Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says New York has a lack of residents with the skills needed to fill jobs in the state's growing advanced manufacturing industry. That's why he says he's pushing for a $15 million federal grant to help 30 SUNY schools train people to fill those positions.
"It's clear that this would mean jobs, jobs, jobs for upstate New Yorkers," Schumer said. "These are not just any jobs, they're good paying jobs. Jobs that last a long time. Maintenance and repair workers, industrial machinery mechanics, technical sales representatives, electrical and electronics industry technicians. They pay up to $30-$40 an hour at the top level."
Schumer says studies show these types of positions account for roughly half of all current jobs in New York and will play a large role in future job creation.
"That's where our community colleges come in and can be so influential, cause they have found the sweet spot in their economy," Schumer explained. "The high tech industry is growing, advanced manufacturing is growing and expanding in upstate and offers a wealth of these middle-skill employment opportunities."
The senator says upstate new York could create 20,000 of these middle-skill advanced manufacturing jobs by 2020, with companies like Welch Allyn, National Grid and Lockheed-Martin. Those jobs include roughly 2,800 in central New York, 3,300 jobs in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area and 800 in the North Country.
"We have a skills gap," Schumer said. "We have these new advanced manufacturing jobs, we have unemployed workers. We can match up the two."
The funding would not be used for tuition, but rather to help each community college set up its program. Schumer says veterans and those who need retraining would get preference for the programs, but anyone can apply.
The amount of money each college gets will be dependent on need.