Assemblyman Jones: Career Pathways is an Investment in the North Country’s Future

March 18, 2019

Assemblyman Billy Jones (D-Chateaugay) announced that the Assembly’s 2019-20 state budget proposal passed Wednesday restores $2.85 million for Career Pathways programs, which help train young adults for careers in high-growth sectors.

“The North Country faces a shortage of skilled workers that’s leaving us in a lurch,” Jones said. “A lack of job training programs is creating a skills gap that holds our local economy back. Initiatives like Career Pathways not only help employers fill empty positions in vital fields, but also enables students interested in high-demand careers by getting them the training they need.”

Career Pathways programs connect young adults ages 16 to 24 with training at local community colleges for high-demand fields and fast-tracks them, allowing them to earn college credit while learning real-world skills. These programs offer students a streamlined pathway to an excellent career while boosting the North Country’s economic standing in the long run, Jones noted.

Career Pathways gives preference to young adults who are unemployed or underemployed in areas of the state with demonstrated labor market needs and high unemployment rates like the North Country. Local employers have had trouble filling positions in fields like manufacturing, nursing, human services, applied sciences and criminal justice because of population decline and lower education rates. According to labor analysts, many employers are seeking people with “middle skills,” which is more than a high school diploma but less than a college degree. However, the number of vocational programs offered in high school is declining, exacerbating the existing skills gap.

Earlier this year, Champlain Valley Educational Services CV-TEC and Clinton Community College (CCC) partnered to help address the nursing labor shortage in the North Country by allowing students seeking a nursing degree to gain advanced placement at CCC. The two institutions already have similar agreements in place for other fields. These programs provide a perfect avenue for local students to receive the same training they would get at a more costly four-year college, Jones noted.