Senate Gives Final Approval for New Strategic Training Alliance Program

July 17, 2009

The New York State Senate last night gave final legislative approval to legislation (A.2849/S.4435) to overhaul and revive the New York State Strategic Training Alliance Program, a long-time priority of Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, chair of the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry.

The new Strategic Training Alliance Program will deliver skills training services to strategic alliances, which are defined as networks, associations or other groups of employers within a training area, joined formally or informally for purposes of solving common problems or working cooperatively. The Department of Economic Development, in cooperation with the Urban Development Corp., SUNY, CUNY, the State Education Department, and the Department of Labor and any other appropriate state agency, will provide assistance to support training activities by eligible applicants who are defined as a strategic alliance, or a consortium of alliances, or a private industry council. This bill will provide community colleges, agricultural and technical colleges, other institutions of higher education, local education agencies, community-based organizations, and strategic alliances with funds to help provide a better workforce for New York State and strengthen small businesses.

“Even when general unemployment rates rise and more people are looking for work, in sector after sector, there are reports of shortages of qualified workers. This phenomenon will likely increase unless we act to address it,” said Assemblyman Schimminger who authored the legislation.

The training services envisioned in this legislation will be administered within industry clusters. Each alliance will shape the training and choose their provider. As a result, workers will have the advantage of being trained to work in any number of firms within an alliance, not just one. In addition, businesses within an alliance would be ensured a pool of skilled workers.

Schimminger noted that the new program replaces the defunct Strategic Training Alliance Program that had been established in 1999 and was beset by bureaucratic hurdles resulting from a joint administration of the program by the Urban Development Corporation and the Department of Labor.

“This innovative approach to skills training and workforce education can set us on a new path toward making and keeping New York home to the very best workforce in the world,” said Assemblyman Schimminger, “and thus have a major impact on the competitiveness of New York State’s economy well into the future.”

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator William Stachowski now goes to the governor for his consideration.