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New York State Department of Labor

Governor Cuomo Announces Launch of Western New York Employment Strikeforce to Connect
Jobseekers with Available Positions in the Buffalo Area

Program Will Build on Success of Governor’s Unemployment Strikeforce
New Satellite Career Center Offices Now Serving Residents in Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Niagara Falls

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Albany, NY (May 12, 2016) -

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of the Western New York Employment Strikeforce with the official opening of five new satellite Department of Labor Career Center offices in the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna, and Niagara Falls. The Employment Strikeforce will focus on removing barriers to employment for individuals who live in targeted areas with high and prolonged unemployment.

The Western New York Employment Strikeforce will use the lessons learned from the Governor's highly successful first-of-its-kind Unemployment Strikeforce launched in the Bronx in 2014. The Unemployment Strikeforce was later expanded to include the 10 counties in the state with the highest rates of unemployment. Since the program's launch in the Bronx, the Department of Labor has engaged more than 10,165 Bronx residents and secured for them more than 17,150 job placements.

"The Western New York Employment Strikeforce will use a proven, targeted approach to help connect unemployed residents in the area with stable jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "By bringing together major players in the public and private sectors, we are taking an important step towards removing barriers to finding work, tackling unemployment and restoring economic opportunity throughout the Buffalo community."

A critical component of this new initiative includes business-driven training that will focus on New Yorkers who need it most, providing them with the skills they need to get back to work. Ensuring that trainers are equipping workers with the skills that businesses are demanding has been a key priority of the Strikeforce, and that skills-based approach will continue in Western New York.

As part of the Western New York Employment Strikeforce, the New York State Department of Labor will add additional business services staff to perform outreach to businesses, strategically focusing on individual industries to provide assistance where and when it's needed. The Department of Labor will also provide intensive job placement services at five new satellite locations in the Strikeforce area.

For more information, visit: http://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/strikeforce.shtm or call 1-888-708-6712.

Additionally, the Governor's Jobs Express website will offer a new regional database of jobs available specifically in the three targeted areas of Western New York. Visit the regional Jobs Express website by clicking here: http://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/western-ny-initiative.shtm.

Dedicated Western New York Employment Strikeforce staff will work closely with local elected officials, workforce development centers, and other community organizations to connect job seekers with regional job opportunities. The Department of Labor also hosted a Career Fair in Buffalo today to help connect job seekers with employers.

"Connecting New York job seekers with businesses that are ready to hire is critical," said Acting Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. "The Governor's plan has worked for the people of the Bronx and it will work for the people of Western New York. The Department of Labor stands ready to do its part to aid in the continued renewal of Western New York."

"While Buffalo is on the upswing, too many adults find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle of joblessness, which is why I, along with city, state, county and faith-based leaders, are thrilled that Governor Cuomo is taking action by creating the Buffalo Employment Strikeforce. Not only will it seek to curb unemployment rates that persist in our city, but it will work at the grassroots level in our community to identify job seekers and then to equip them with the skills and resources necessary to secure and retain a job," said Senator Tim Kennedy. "The Strikeforce, along with funding from the Governor's Anti-Poverty Initiative, will begin to open what has remained locked for far too long: opportunity. This direct and on-the-ground approach will help to finally close some of the most severe employment gaps we have seen in the most impoverished areas of our community."

Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "Buffalo's Employment Strikeforce has been a long time in the making. This is a collective reaction to making sure all households rise with the improving economic tides - we've heard you loud and clear. With 2,000 jobs currently available through the NYS Dept. Of Labor, and thousands more locally coming online, the Strikeforce is dedicated to identifying employment and training opportunities for the under- and unemployed. The Bronx's success serves as a great model and blueprint. I'd like to thank Gov. Cuomo and his leadership team for coordinating this effort and I look forward to partnering with all parties to ensure residents' independence and improved quality of life."

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "Today's announcement of the Western New York Employment Strikeforce is emblematic of Governor Cuomo's commitment to our region. By helping local job seekers find work with local businesses, we'll be helping to reduce poverty in our communities. I thank the Governor for being a strong partner as we work to ensure that the resurgence we're seeing in Western New York reaches all of our citizens."

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "As we continue to grow Buffalo into a city of opportunity, this initiative enhances our efforts to help job seekers tap into opportunities and connect with companies that are looking to hire in areas with the highest unemployment rates. I look forward to partnering with Governor Andrew Cuomo, our clergy and other local organizations on this program, modeled after a successful effort in the Bronx, as we work together on our shared goal of lifting up all people in Buffalo by leveraging every available community resource."

City of Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski said, "We simply cannot continue to neglect the unemployed or underemployed. Through Governor Cuomo's leadership and his initiative building off the successful Bronx Strikeforce Initiative, we stand to realize long term sustainable employment opportunities for Lackawanna and communities throughout New York State."

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "I commend Governor Cuomo's commitment to assisting job seekers with the skills they need to find employment. The Department of Labor's Strikeforce works with local community leaders to match job seekers with employers, which will only enhance work force training efforts underway in Niagara Falls."

To learn more about the Governor's Western New York Employment Strikeforce, please visit: http://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/strikeforce.shtm.

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