By Assemblyman Will Barclay
The latest State Department of Labor newsletter for CNY states the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in four years.
Signs do point to economic growth, especially in the area of food processing for our local region.
According to the Department of Labor, the yogurt industry continues to be a source for many jobs throughout the Upstate region, with the latest yogurt expansion announced by Byrne Dairy.
The Syracuse-based company plans to build a $20 million yogurt plant and visitor center in Cortland County.
Employment could reach 300 as the facility plans a four-phased expansion that will also include an agri-tourism center.
Byrne is also investing in its Ultra Dairy plant in DeWitt. A newer pasteurization method used at Ultra Dairy allows them to ship milk-based products further, which is helping the company to grow its markets.
Chobani and Fage, both Greek yogurt producers, are also based in Upstate.
In Lysander, Agrana Fruit US Inc. will invest more than $50 million to build a fruit processing plant. Their decision to locate here is largely due to the Greek yogurt boom, as they provide fruit filling for Greek yogurt. Agrana will be the home to 120 more local jobs.
The former Bird’s Eye plant in Fulton will soon become a poultry-processing operation and frozen distribution warehouse.
About 180 people are expected to be employed there.
Teti Bakery, a commercial bakery, will employ about 60 people. Their facilities will be located in the town of Volney.
While much of the local economy is benefiting from food processors, other ancillary businesses benefit and, hopefully, the whole economy will grow. Other job growth can be found in small companies that, while may not make headlines, are providing a living wage for many families around the region.
If you’re on the job search or want to keep informed about openings throughout the region, I encourage you to visit Oswego Workforce New York in Fulton, CNY Works in Syracuse, or The Work Place in Watertown.
These agencies are managed as part of the State Department of Labor and are federally funded.
They serve as a hub for employers and those looking for work. Businesses can submit openings for jobs and prospective employees can apply through these centers for work.
The career centers provide information about apprenticeship trainings, as well as local hiring.
For example, Novelis utilizes the Oswego Workforce New York to test applicants as well as other companies. Novelis recently invested $200 million expansion at their Oswego operation to keep up with automobile manufacturing demands, which will add about 100 new jobs.
Some of the apprenticeships such as construction, plumbing and carpentry are currently accepting applicants.
In addition, there are continuous recruitment efforts for occupational therapists, nurses and other therapists.
Large employers like Byrne Dairy frequently utilize CNY Works in Syracuse to find employees. Lenore Sealy of CNY Works says while many large employers do recruit through their agency, much of their outreach focuses on counseling – matching job skills with what the job applicant likes to do and what’s available.
Many good jobs are found through small companies that, in many cases, are only going to hire one or two employees.
In these situations, it’s really about individual skill matching. In Jefferson County, consumers can find help navigating the Fort Drum Employment Application Process.
They can also learn about opportunities in agriculture through collaboration with Cornell Cooperative Extension.
Given the Greek yogurt and value-added dairy products, dairy farmers and workers are in demand.
The career centers not only serve as a job placement agency but can help those looking for a job to build a resume and provide further training.
There is a listing of licensed and certified occupations as well and how to obtain license and certifications in several fields.
Also, all locations provide access to computers and the New York State Job Bank.
To contact your career center in Oswego County, visit Oswego County Workforce NY, 200 N. Second St., Fulton, NY 13069 or by phone at (315) 591-9000 or on the web at http://www.yourcareerconnection.org
To contact a career center in Jefferson County, visit The Work Place, 1000 Coffeen St., Watertown, NY 13601 or by phone at (315) 782-9252 or on the web at http://co.jefferson.ny.us/index.aspx?page=74
To contact your career center in Onondaga County, visit CNY Works, 443 N. Franklin St., Lower Level, Syracuse, NY 13204 or call at (315) 473-8250 or on the web at http://www.cnyworks.com
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 N. Second Street, Fulton, NY 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.