Friday, January 22, 2021

Adirondack Communities: Workforce Training

Adirondack Communities logoAt the end of an eight-week long course on manufacturing and career building at Clinton Community College a few years ago, there was a sense of nervous anticipation as the seven participants considered  their next steps and prepared to meet with prospective employers at an informal job fair the following  day. One of the students had driven from Westport every day for two months to attend the four-hour  class. Another participant had commuted from Malone and was now considering moving to Plattsburgh if he was able to find employment. Another student, who spoke openly about the barriers to employment because of a past criminal record, said he hoped the class and OSHA certification would lead to a good job and a better future.  

The Assembling Industry: Manufacturing & Education class or AIME, launched in 2010, is a partnership  between ETS Staffing and Recruiting, Clinton Community College’s Institute for Advanced  Manufacturing, and CV-TEC. The initiative is in part an attempt to bridge the gap between a flourishing  manufacturing sector in the area and a shortage of employees heightened by historically low  unemployment rates. According to Deb Cleary, President and CEO of ETS, on any given day there are some 130 to 150 unfilled manufacturing jobs in the Plattsburgh region. 

Meanwhile across the Adirondack region there are significant numbers of unemployed youth between  the ages of 16 and 24. The unemployment rate for young adults in New York is much higher than the  statewide average for the general  population. According to the Opportunity Index, 29% of youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in Franklin County (approximately 1,800 individuals) are not in school and not working. For Clinton County the number is 12% or nearly 1,300 youths. In Essex County nearly 20% or 825 young adults are without work. And in Warren and Hamilton Counties the figures are close to 14% or just over 1,000 young men and women.)

Until recently nonprofits and government agencies have not invested in bridging the gap between the region’s unemployed youth and the  available manufacturing and service industry jobs, says Greg Hart, Regional Director of the Workforce  Development Institute for the North Country. But as the need for workers grows that is beginning to  change.  


New programs and funding—both public and private—are beginning to tackle the issue head on. Here are some examples of programs happening around the region:

AIME Assembling Industry:  Manufacturing & Education 

Offers skills development  and workforce training at a  state-of-the-art manufacturing facility on the campus of Clinton Community College. Also provides support services  and access to resources and employers in the Plattsburgh region. The 8- week class is typically  offered twice a year at little or no cost, but the organizers have struggled to meet enrollment quotas. 

HFM (Hamilton Fulton  Montgomery) BOCES 

HFM BOCES offers a variety  of programming for students in Hamilton County. Adirondack Academy and the newly launched Agriculture PTECH  are designed to provide  post-secondary career  opportunities for students  who may not go on to a four year college. HFM BOCES  also has a career and technical education program.  

International Brotherhood  of Electrical Workers Local  910 and Clinton  Community College  

This is a new collaboration  between the IBEW and  Clinton Community College that allows journeymen to obtain credit toward an  Associate’s Degree in  Occupational Studies. The program is designed to both help recruit electricians and  plumbers into a high paying  field and to allow those individuals to further their education and obtain advanced degrees at the same time.  

Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship 

This innovative partnership  between Hudson Headwaters Health Network and area hospitals and  clinics brings third year  medical students from UVM  to the region to live and  work for 12 months. Each  student is matched with two  primary care physicians who serve as mentors for the year. Students gain invaluable medical experience and the program could potentially create a pipeline for the next generation of primary care  providers in the Adirondack region.  

North Country Center for Businesses in Transition

This program is designed to  help local business owners  who are nearing retirement  develop a succession plan. A  large percentage of   businesses across the region  are owned and operated by  individuals or families who  are nearing retirement age.  Rather than lose these  important community  assets and economic anchors, Adirondack North  Country Association is  helping local businesses transfer ownership.  

RAMP Ready, Able, Marketable, Proven 

Program developed by Coryer Staffing to fill entry level labor gap by connecting recent high  school graduates with a  structured, disciplined post grad work experience in  Clinton County. Focus is on  the three sectors that  predominate in the North  Country industrial landscape: assembly, manufacturing, and warehousing/logistics.  


Launched earlier this year  with funding from Adirondack Foundation,  Ready4Real offers life skills  training and college prep in  regional high schools. In its  early stages the program  has worked with Beekmantown High School,  Seton Catholic, St. Regis  Falls, and Northern Borders  Academy in Malone. With additional grant funding the Ready4Real program will expand in the 2019-2020  academic year. 

SWIPE (School to Work  Initiative Through  Practical Experiences)

Aims to help local high  school students in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid explore career opportunities  in their own backyards. It is  partnering with schools and  businesses to build skills  and open doors primarily in the tourism industry. Launched in spring of 2019  by a retired teacher and a  hotel manager, SWIPE  provides work and interview  experience, introduces  students to industry professionals, and offers  enriching field trips. The  instructors impart a sense of  pride for their community,  foster a strong work ethic,  and raise awareness about  career advancement opportunities. Adirondack  Foundation provided seed funding through its Generous Acts Program to  help this initiative get started.  

Photo above from the SWIPE program, taken by Erika Bailey and courtesy of Adirondack Foundation.

About this series:
The Adirondack Explorer/Adirondack Almanack is partnering with Adirondack Foundation to shine a light on unmet needs in the region as well as highlight promising efforts to address them. This special series was inspired by the Foundation’s 2019 report “Meeting the Needs of Adirondack Communities.”  To learn more, visit Over the next few weeks we’ll be diving into the following topics:

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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. louis curth says:

    This “Spotlight on Adirondack Communities” series seems to offer Adirondackers a way to share ideas and discuss our region’s problems, needs, and how we might be able to fix things. We urgently need a “town hall” style meeting place like that – and Facebook ain’t it!
    I believe that editor, Melissa Hart, has shown herself to be a talented facilitator who can craft the right balance in tone and agenda. She also knows how to guide reader comments into thoughtful and lively directions, yet within the respectful bounds that we all should want from each other.
    Could it be that Adirondackers who want to solve problems and make life better for all, might discover that the Almanack could be our on-line meeting place where we can be together as we used as a community of neighbors? I truly hope so.

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