Groundbreaking for MCC Center, ‘We need to do much better job of closing skill gaps’

Education

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Construction is underway for a new innovation center at Monroe Community College’s downtown campus. Officials say the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center, also known as Forward Center, will be a pipeline for Rochester’s tech-oriented careers.

Manufacturing jobs are booming in Rochester, according to state and local officials. But they require a certain level of skills, which this new innovation center aims to provide once completed in 2022.

President of MCC Deanna Burt-Nanna says in our region, about 37% of jobs available are classified as middle skilled. She says these are hard to fill due to a shortage of skilled workers.

“These are occupations that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four year degree.”

Burt-Nanna says this center is designed to allow students to stay after getting their credit, and fill the high demand jobs in the region.

“Technology-oriented careers that pay living wages and are less vulnerable to future displacement.”

These could be careers in advanced manufacturing, information technology, health care, or professional services.

Bob Duffy with Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce says Rochester has one of the highest poverty rates in the count, but is also prime for growth. This new center aims to bridge gaps connecting jobs to those underserved populations that need them.

“We have to make that connection to people living in poverty level or below,” he said.

“Well that’s on us at the State University of New York to close those gaps,” said SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras.

Orville Abrams with the NYSDOL says Rochester is the place to do it.

“Rochester is very special because of the educational facilities that are here,” he said. “Already a population of folks that are skilled you have an opportunity to skill them some more.”

A recent survey from the DOL says 40% of businesses found they lack qualifying candidates. 52% of all job seekers say they don’t have the proper education to actually get these jobs.

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