Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma) joined Assemblymember Harry B. Bronson (D-Rochester/Chili/Henrietta) and Kevin Stump, Northeast Regional Director of Young Invincibles, in support of the Empire State Apprenticeship Program (ESAP) which Bronson and Gallivan championed in the 2017-18 state budget. The apprenticeship program aims to help lower youth unemployment, close the middle-skills gap, provide trained workers for expanding and emerging workforces and generally develop a more competitive New York State workforce. Also attending a press conference in Albany Tuesday, were Assembly Labor Chair Michele Titus, Senate Labor Chair Marisol Alcantara, Harold King of the Council of Industry, Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training and Employment Professionals, and Randy Wolken, President of the Manufacturers Alliance.
The Empire State Apprenticeship Program will help employers tap into over 300,000 sixteen to twenty-four year old adults across the state who are not in school or employed, connecting businesses with apprentices who can become skilled workers in fields including but not limited to nursing, agriculture, advanced manufacturing, photonics, health care and information technology. The cost of training these new employees will be offset through tax credits which increase in value for each year of training an apprentice completes, with additional tax credits for employers who also mentor their apprentices in ways to overcome barriers to gainful employment. As a result, ESAP will launch careers that can lift New Yorkers out of poverty and create a competitive workforce that drives business and innovation.
“One of the challenges facing today’s employers is finding skilled workers, especially in advanced manufacturing and information technology fields,” Gallivan said. “By incentivizing manufacturers and other businesses to establish apprenticeship programs, we can create opportunities, close the skills gap, train workers for successful careers, reduce unemployment and help businesses grow. This program wisely invests in the future of New York’s economy and workforce.”
“Businesses across the state have good-paying middle skills jobs which are going unfilled due to the skills gap,” said Bronson. “Today’s entry level jobs require more skills than in the past, and the Empire State Apprenticeship Program will create a pipeline connecting young people to job-training opportunities that lead to middle-class careers. This program also enhances our economic development initiatives by making sure the industries we invest in are supported by a well-trained local workforce. By providing on the job training and a foot in the door, the Empire State Apprenticeship Program allows both jobseekers and local businesses to thrive. The program is especially beneficial for hard to place potential workers living in poverty because it allows them to “earn as they learn” in the apprenticeship”
“Apprenticeships are a vital component of New York State’s workforce development strategy,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Governor Cuomo has been a leader on this front, launching the nation’s first State pre-apprenticeship program and making significant strides in expanding apprenticeship opportunities for underserved communities. We must continue to make progress as we seek to build a strong middle class and prepare our workforce for the jobs of the future.”
“Encouraging apprenticeships benefits both employers as well as the workforce,” said Assembly Labor Committee Chair Michelle Titus. “Employers by providing them with a highly skilled workforce that grows businesses and makes them more competitive. Workers by giving them the skills necessary to succeed in high-demand careers. As a result, it also boosts the economy of New York State. We must continue to build a collaboration among educators and employers and align apprenticeships with the needs of our community.”
"Apprenticeship programs are a proven method of helping our young people access meaningful careers while helping businesses fill positions that are in high demand. In New York State today, we face a paradoxical situation of high youth unemployment that coexists with unfilled middle-skill positions. By expanding apprenticeships and incentivizing businesses to train their own workers, we can give our youth, especially disadvantaged youth, the opportunity to pursue the American Dream and attain gainful employment and a decent living. As chair of the State Senate's Labor Committee, I fought hard for this program to be included in this year's budget, and I am glad that the state government is stepping up to the challenge of training a workforce for the 21st century," said State Senator Marisol Alcantara.
"More than 300,000 young adults across the state are currently out of work, so we are excited to see that state leaders are serious about addressing youth unemployment in the final budget. The Empire State Apprenticeship Program will use our limited workforce development dollars wisely by bringing new opportunities to disadvantaged young people while meeting the needs of employers. We look forward to the continued leadership of the State Legislature to tackle New York's alarmingly high youth unemployment," said Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles and author of the report, "Sounding the Alarm: New York's Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & the Need for State-Based Reforms."
"Apprenticeships are a critical tool in transferring knowledge from seasoned professionals to the new generation of workers. We are hopeful that the modifications to the tax credit program signals the Legislature is just getting started in thinking about the wide range of ways to invest in developing a skilled talent pipeline in New York State," said Melinda Mack, Executive Director of the New York Association of Training & Employment Professionals.
Manufacturers Alliance President & CEO Randy Wolken stated, “On behalf of the Alliance, I would like to extend our gratitude for the continued support of New York skilled workforce initiatives through the Empire State Apprenticeship Program. The key to recruiting more people and talent into advanced manufacturing is through time, resources and commitment to developing and teaching the skills needed within our evolving sector. The Empire State Apprenticeship Program will do just that, and allow for more people to take advantage of the exciting and diverse careers one can find with advanced manufacturing.”
“Finding workers with the right skills is one of the most pressing issues facing manufacturers in the Hudson Valley,” said Harold King, Executive Vice President, The Council of Industry. “More and more firms are trying to develop these skills in workers through apprenticeships, but that is an investment that takes time, money and other resources. The Empire State Apprenticeship Program will provide a much needed offset to the cost of these apprenticeships - encouraging more firms to offer them and getting more young people working in advanced manufacturing.”