Job Flexibility Tops Worker Priorities; Worker Retention Leads for Employers
ALBANY—The New York State Department of Labor released the results of its 2023 Workforce Development Survey, and workers continue to say that flexibility in their job is the number-one priority, while attracting new employees and retaining current workers remain the top challenges for businesses.
The annual survey, which is done in partnership with Empire State Development and the New York State Business Council, started in 2021 as an effort to understand the needs of both workers seeking employment and employers in a post-pandemic economy. Gathering responses from more than 2,400 businesses and 8,200 individuals, this survey is the most comprehensive survey available on the specific needs of businesses and job seekers statewide.
“In the wake of the economic uncertainty generated by the pandemic, many businesses report that they continue to struggle with filling open positions,” said New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Now, more than ever, it is imperative that we use what we’ve learned from this collaborative survey to understand the changes that have occurred in the labor market and develop effective strategies to match people to careers.”
In the survey, businesses report they are struggling to attract workers and say that competition for a limited talent pool is driving the market. Attracting new workers, retaining current workers, fears of inflation and increased regulations on businesses are top concerns of employers in New York State. There is also a major need for skilled trades awareness and training.
For workers, paid time off, health insurance, and higher pay continue to remain high priorities, though this year, for the first time, “ability to work remotely full-time” is a top incentive job seekers desire. Workers have preference for online training, virtual workshops and job fairs, and one-on-one career guidance. NYSDOL offers many of these services at no cost.
Recent NYSDOL efforts in workforce development, including a $350-million investment by Gov. Kathy Hochul, are creating opportunities for workers looking to grow their skills and incomes in the competitive State economy. For workers looking to upskill and train in higher-paying industries and careers, they say lack of education, access to professional networks, and age discrimination remain recurring impediments, according to the survey.
Higher education and further skills development remain out of reach for many workers, due to rising costs of schooling and time constraints of working other jobs. Job seekers are interested in advanced training in digital skills, driver certifications, and healthcare. NYSDOL offers free job search assistance in our 96 career centers , free upskilling and training through Coursera , and most recently launched the Northstar Digital Literacy Program, for employment seekers lacking digital literacy skills.
Many New Yorkers are actively seeking work in construction, retail trade, health care and social assistance, and other industries and services. Top positions that employers are looking to fill include teachers, CDL drivers, and laborers.
Most businesses are looking to maintain or increase their physical footprint, signaling the need for a continued, active local workforce. Three-quarters of businesses statewide report they are not considering implementing any form of digital automation. Despite fears of automation and Artificial Intelligence taking away jobs, the necessity for skilled workers in New York State remains.
NYS Approves $185M for Local Water Public Works Projects
ALBANY—The Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors approved recently more than $185 million in direct financial assistance for water infrastructure improvement projects across New York State. The board’s approval authorizes municipal access to more than $94.7 million in low-cost short-term financing and previously announced grants to get shovels in the ground for critical water and sewer infrastructure projects, including treatment processes to remove emerging contaminants from drinking water.
The board also took action to help ensure continued, long-term affordability of existing projects. This includes a $189-million bond sale which, when combined with previously authorized grants, will save municipalities an estimated $125 million in debt service payments for 25 projects statewide.
The Clean Water and Drinking Water projects that secured funding include $750,000 to the City of Peekskill, approximately $1.05 million for Sullivan County and a host of grant awards in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
“New York is committed to providing reliable access to clean and safe water,” Gov. Hochul said. “This historic investment is a key step towards bolstering our environmental resiliency, public health, and economic development in communities across the state.
The funding approved today includes more than $44 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). BIL funding for water and sewer infrastructure is administered by EFC through the State Revolving Funds. New York City was approved to receive a $42 million long-term interest-free BIL financing for the North River cogeneration and electrification project that’s underway. Based on current market conditions, this interest-free financing is projected to save city ratepayers an estimated $33 million over 30 years. A $2-million BIL grant was also approved for Hicksville in Nassau County for a drinking water project to treat emerging contaminants.
EFC President & CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, “EFC’s efforts are designed to build local capacity and position communities to successfully and affordably undertake their critical water and sewer projects. EFC is focused on helping communities by serving as a resource—whether the need is for technical or financial assistance.”
Clean Water Projects
City of Peekskill, Westchester County—$750,000 WIIA grant for the planning, design and construction of sanitary sewer main improvements at Lower South Street, including installation of a new pump station and force main to reduce inflow and infiltration to Westchester County’s Peekskill Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Drinking Water Projects
Carle Place Water District, Nassau County—$5,000,000 WIIA grant for the installation of an advanced oxidation process treatment system and a granular activated carbon treatment system at Well No. 5 for the removal of 1,4-dioxane.
Garden City Park Water District, Nassau County— $4,363,200 WIIA grant for the installation of an advanced oxidation process treatment system for the removal of 1,4-dioxane and a granular activated carbon system for the removal of PFOA and PFOS.
Hampton Bays Water District, Suffolk County—$2,724,000 WIIA grant for the installation of two 12-inch water transmission mains across the Shinnecock Canal and the Shinnecock Bay.
Hicksville Water District, Nassau County—$3,000,000 WIIA grant and $2,000,000 BIL-Emerging Contaminants (EC) grant for the installation of advanced oxidation process and granular activated carbon treatment system at Plant No. 6 wells 6-1R and 6-2 for the removal of 1,4-dioxane, PFOA and PFOs.
Plainview Water District, Nassau County— $13,840,200 WIIA grant for the installation of an advanced oxidation process treatment system and a granular activated carbon treatment system at Plant No. 5, Well Nos. 5-1, 5-2, 5-3 and 5-4 for the removal of 1,4-dioxane, PFOA and PFOs.
South Farmingdale Water District, Nassau County —$3,000,000 WIIA grant for the installation of an advanced oxidation process treatment system and a granular activated carbon treatment system at the Plant No. 6 facility for the removal of 1,4-dioxane from Well No. 6-2
South Huntington Water District, Suffolk County—$3,435,075 WIIA grant for the installation of an advanced oxidation process treatment system for 1,4-dioxane removal and the installation of Filtrasorb F-300AR carbon for PFAS removal in existing granular activated carbon vessels.
Village of Wurtsboro, Sullivan County—$1,047,600 WIIA grant for the construction of approximately 1,100 linear feet of 8-inch ductile iron pipe water main on Sullivan Street to Kingston Avenue, replacement of eight water service connections and the replacement of the 300,000 gallon above-ground water storage tank in the village.