CEG Ramps Up Efforts to Recruit Highly Skilled Workers
The Center for Economic Growth (CEG) is expanding its workforce development efforts to ensure even more service members ending their military careers outside the eight counties find educational or employment opportunities within them.
Fort Drum Recruitment Efforts
On Aug. 30, staff from Talent Connect, CEG’s skilled worker attraction and retention program, set up soldier recruitment booths at Fort Drum’s quarterly Soldier for Life – Transition Assistance Program (SFL TAP) Career and Education Fair. Each month, approximately 250 soldiers complete their military service at Fort Drum, and many of them attend the SFL TAP Career and Education Fair to look for either civilian employment or G.I. Bill benefit-related educational opportunities.
Talent Connect is now participating in these events to inform soldiers of such opportunities in the Capital Region, which houses 10 two-year and 14 four-year higher education institutions as well as two distance-learning institutions. By early August, the region had 10,851 job listings, according to New York State Department of Labor’s Jobs Express. Outside of sales, the lion’s share of those listings were in the healthcare, management and computer and mathematics occupations. At the fair, Talent Connect manned two booths: “Careers in New York’s Capital Region” and “Higher Education in NY’s Capital Region.” The next SFL TAP Career and Education Fair is on Nov. 2, 2017, and CEG staff will then return there on behalf of the region’s employers and schools.
Onward to Opportunity/FourBlock
Talent Connect is also brokering connections between Capital Region employers interested in hiring veterans and two service member career transition and preparation programs: Onward to Opportunity and FourBlock. These programs provide service members entering their last months in the military with career readiness services while also connecting employers with a pipeline to veteran talent.
On Sept. 14, Talent Connect will coordinate events in Albany and Saratoga counties to inform employers on how they can tap into Onward to Opportunity’s skilled worker pipeline. The event will be of particular interest to Capital Region companies involved in web development, business analytics, and hospitality management, as Onward to Opportunity offers online training courses in those areas to service members and their spouses.
Veterans in the Capital Region
In 2015, there were 35,526 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 years in the Capital Region, according to a CEG analysis of U.S. Census Bureau five-year estimates. Out of them, 27,767 were in the labor force and 26,095 were employed. That gave the Capital Region not only the lowest veteran unemployment rate (6 percent) out of the state’s 10 regions but also the highest labor force participation rate (78.2 percent).
Capital Region employment of veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 years was highest in Saratoga County (6,496), followed by Albany (5,572) and Rensselaer (3,983) counties. More than half of the employed veterans (53.8 percent) were between the ages of 35 and 54 years and 15.1 percent were between 18 and 34 years.
In 2014, the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act took effect in New York, extending state contract preference to service-disabled, veteran-owned businesses (SDVOBs). As of June 6, 2017, the Capital Region had 34 New York-certified SDVOBs – the fourth greatest number in the state. That is a notable achievement given that the Capital Region is the state’s sixth most populous region.
Addition Veteran Workforce Initiatives
In addition to Talent Connect’s efforts, other initiatives designed to boost veterans’ involvement in the Capital Region’s economy include:
- VETCON: A two-day conference hosted by the Tully Rinckey Foundation dedicated to connecting veterans with professional growth and education opportunities. This year’s event will be at the Desmond Hotel in Colonie on Nov. 28 and 29.
- Armed-to-Farm: A SUNY Adirondack program that trains veterans in operating sustainable farming.
- One-Stop Career Centers: These regional centers provide veterans with job search, workforce development and military-to-civilian transitioning counseling and services.
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