As President and CEO of HIA-LI, one of Long Island’s foremost business advocacy organizations, I’m excited to share that we are launching a new Workforce Development Task Force. This initiative underscores our ongoing commitment to supporting businesses and strengthening the economic framework of the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge (LI-IPH).
The LI-IPH is a significant player in our region’s economy, serving as the largest business park in the Northeast. With around 1,400 companies that employ approximately 55,000 workers, it forms a critical part of Long Island’s economic pulse. However, like many regions across the country, Long Island faces a significant challenge: a shortage of skilled workers. This issue is not just immediate; it also has implications for our region’s future growth and resilience.
To address this challenge, we’ve assembled a task force with two specific goals: align resources to meet business needs and spearhead efforts to recruit and develop talent for in-demand careers. Our task force is led by two respected individuals, Rich Humann, President and CEO of H2M Architects & Engineers, and Dr. Edward Bonahue, President of Suffolk County Community College. They will leverage their expertise to foster meaningful collaborations between businesses, educational institutions, and workforce development organizations.
We draw inspiration from successful ventures like Suffolk County Community College’s Solar Installer Certificate Program, a perfect example of mutually beneficial academia-business partnerships. By facilitating similar collaborations, we aim to ensure students are equipped with hands-on experience and businesses have access to a well-trained talent pool.
In the evolving post-Covid landscape, it’s crucial to forecast the skills businesses will need. To this end, the task force will commission an extensive “LI-IPH In-Demand Skills Assessment” in partnership with the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (Suffolk IDA) and executed by James Lima Planning, a renowned New York City-based consulting firm. This project is made possible by a grant from the Workforce Development Institute, with additional funding from HIA-LI and the Suffolk IDA. The results will guide academia in reshaping curricula to align better with the future needs of the region’s economy.
Our task force’s initiative resonates with a larger statewide initiative – a $350-million initiative announced last year by Governor Kathy Hochul – to improve workers’ skills to meet job demands. This wider program forms a crucial element of a strategic approach to workforce development in the region.
Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, anticipating the shape of future work is a priority. The task force is committed to helping local businesses understand and prepare for these changes. By creating synergies between businesses, academia, and governmental organizations, we aim to foster a more resilient economy, attuned to both immediate and future needs of Long Island’s workforce.
Smaller businesses often find predicting future skill requirements a daunting task. Thus, we’re tailoring our efforts to help these firms, providing assistance to navigate and prepare for future demands. We are aiming to equip these businesses with customized programs that meet their ever-evolving workforce needs.
In conclusion, the Workforce Development Task Force reflects our dedication to continually fostering the growth and development of Long Island’s workforce. We view this initiative as a strategic response to current challenges, ensuring a more vibrant, resilient, and future-ready regional economy.
Stay tuned for information about our fall Workforce Development Conference where the results of the “LI-IPH In-Demand Skills Assessment” will be presented and discussed.