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Albany, N.Y., Workforce Group Launches Statewide Jobs Site

The Workforce Development Institute has launched a website that makes it easier than ever before for job seekers to access specialized training and certification programs that can help them dive into new careers.

by Larry Rulison, Times Union / August 25, 2020
The New York Capitol in Albany. David Kidd/Government Technology

(TNS) — The Workforce Development Institute in Albany, N.Y., has launched a website that makes it easier than ever before for job seekers to access specialized training and certification programs that can help them dive into new careers.

The website, known as the Future Skills Exchange, has been in development since before the coronavirus pandemic hit, resulting in the closure of many businesses that have had to furlough thousands of workers in the Capital Region and across the state.

“In most Capital Region counties, we saw unemployment numbers nearing 10.5 percent in June, making the Future Skills Exchange a valuable tool at this time as many people are seeking additional education and skills training,” said Lois Johnson, who is the director of workforce strategies at the Workforce Development Institute, an Albany-based non-profit that is funded by the state Legislature and has ten regional offices across New York.

The timing couldn't have been better to launch the Future Skills Exchange, which has already posted hundreds of easy-to-access pages that feature training programs, college courses and apprenticeship programs that are offered both locally and across the state.

Just last week, members of the Capital Region's Regional Economic Development Council met virtually in an online conference call to talk about strategies to help people back to work amid record unemployment across the state.

Council members, who were joined by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and state Labor Department Commissioner Roberta Reardon, talked about the need to retrain workers who may have lost their jobs permanently as companies impacted by the pandemic replace those jobs with technology. One example might be restaurants using an iPad to take customers' orders instead of wait staff. Other industries have been able to operate with workers at home, eliminating other  jobs as well.

Johnson said in the past, job seekers have had to go to numerous sites to find training and certification programs, but the Future Skills Exchange puts it all in one place.

"That was difficult to navigate," Johnson said. "This opens (the various training programs) to a new audience."

The website is at FutureSkillsX.org.

Locally, groups and schools that have listed their programs on the web site include Hudson Valley Community College, SUNY Schenectady and the non-profit computer programming training group AlbanyCanCode.

"As we expand our reach across the state, the Future Skills Exchange will help us reach more individuals in communities statewide seeking technology training opportunities," said Annmarie Lanesey, the founder of AlbanyCanCode, which provides computer programming courses that train job seekers to immediately jump into coding jobs after a 12-week course. Like others, AlbanyCanCode is holding its courses virtually this semester.

"Creating access to training for all individuals across the state and harnessing their immense potential through technology training will be the key to assuring our state is reimagined and rebuilt on the foundation of meaningful jobs," Lanesey added.

©2020 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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