The development of the workforce in areas like manufacturing was the key point in Buffalo Niagara Partnership’s release of their annual report today at Key Bank Center. While Western New York is headed in the right direction, Partnership President Dottie Gallagher said there still is a lot work to do in the coming fiscal year.
“We had a great year,” she said. “I think what we saw this year was our response to changing employer needs and what they need to advance their business.”
That includes manufacturing jobs. Gallagher said the skilled labor does not yet meet employer’s demands.
“Manufacturers have a tremendous amount of job openings in various levels of their companies,” Gallagher said. “It’s one of the areas that this economy is most challenged, in terms of the sheer number of retirements that are happening.”
That creates an increasingly large gap that has not yet began to be filled. Gallagher says the development done at the Northland Training Center is helping but not enough. She says Western New York’s economy is reliant on a healthy manufacturing sector, but not just production jobs.
“It’s every kind of job in manufacturing,” she said. “From design, to customer service, to sales. There’s a lot of opportunity there.”
With the new fiscal year beginning July 1st, Gallagher said the Partnership will allocate 20% of its budget to workforce training development efforts.