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Chamber President and CEO Pete Bardunias

Businesses struggle to fulfill a fraction of the demand for their services, while restaurants are forced to close on busy holiday weekends. Bosses work double shifts to satisfy customers, and some companies are moving out of the Capital Region altogether.

What’s the cause of these difficulties? 

Most area businesses report that they can’t find enough employees to take advantage of opportunities or, in the case of some, simply to satisfy the customers they have. Companies share story after story of promising new hires calling in sick or asking for a day off after working only a few days on the job.  What is happening in our workforce? Is it a lack of interest, a missing sense of urgency, untapped skills, confusion over what is expected or required on the job?

The answer may be, “all of the above,” and area educators are toiling to find new ways to address these issues in conjunction with the business community. Hudson Valley Community College recently dedicated the new Gene F. Haas Center For Advanced Manufacturing Skills in Troy, a 37,000 square foot facility housing nearly 300 students working towards an Associate of Occupational Studies degree in Advanced Manufacturing Technology.  Students learn the skills they need for lucrative manufacturing jobs in an affordable, economical manner, and even better, they have jobs waiting for them when they graduate.

The Chamber of Southern Saratoga County (CSSC) was proud to witness this important opening, along with smaller but no less significant new STEM education centers such as Mathnasium and Code Ninjas here in downtown Clifton Park.  The CSSC’s Education and Business Partnership Committee is identifying new ways to connect students with potential careers. 

“Our chamber is proud of the leadership role we have taken in the region on addressing the skills gap and workforce development challenges that our members continue to face,” says Matt Grattan, Director of Community and Economic Development of the Office of the Vice President for Research at the University at Albany and 2019 Chairman of the CSSC. “Our strategy has been comprehensive in addressing the entire workforce development continuum through our Business and Education committee, collaboration with our K-12 school districts, and our partnerships with our regional community colleges and higher education institutions. 

"We are committed more than ever to supporting our members in their talent attraction and retention efforts in an effort to grow their businesses and our regional economy.”    

On Sept. 19 our colleagues at the Capital Region Chamber will present a Talent and Inclusion Summit to explore new approaches and best practices to leverage diversity and create a more productive organizational culture.  More information can be found online at www.capitalregionchamber.com/events.

- Pete Bardunias, President/CEO, the Chamber of Southern Saratoga County

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