New program to provide help to job seekers

State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, left, and SUNY Empire State College President Jim Malatras shake hands Thursday in Albany. Their respective organizations created the new Empire State Career Connector. State labor department

ALBANY — Job seekers who need help finding employment opportunities in an ever-changing labor market, along with the skill requirements for them, can find assistance in an upcoming state program.

The state Department of Labor announced Thursday that it teamed up with SUNY Empire State College to create the Empire State Career Connector, which will provide guidance on the types of jobs available and the education and experience required for them. The program will also help connect participants with prospective employers and careers upon completion, according to a news release.

“The types of work we do and the way we do them are constantly changing. That’s why this innovative partnership with SUNY Empire State College is so important in preparing New York’s workforce with the skills they need to thrive and excel in this ever-evolving landscape,” wrote state labor department Commissioner Roberta Reardon in a statement.

Several employers across the north country and beyond have struggled to fill vacancies with qualified workers, and applicants have also experienced difficulties figuring out what companies expect from them.

The labor department and college created the program to help employers and workers alike. They plan to ascertain the employers needs’ for available jobs using information from local workforce boards and regional economic development councils, then inform program participants what specific training and education they need to meet those demands, according to the release.

Staff from Empire State College will also evaluate participants’ previous experiences and education for possible college credit toward any necessary degrees.

“The demands of the workforce are changing rapidly, and we need to think differently about how we educate people in this new world,” wrote college President Jim Malatras in a statement. “The changing workforce requires continuous education through upskilling and our partnership with the Department of Labor will help people identify job opportunities near them and connect with the education they’ll need to advance their careers.

The first connector hub will be located at the Empire State College facility in downtown Albany, with a ribbon cutting scheduled for January 2020, but the program will be offered across college and labor department offices throughout the state.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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