The need for high tech manufacturing jobs in the Rochester-Finger Lakes area is growing. Just last year there were 143 job vacancies in the machining field. Companies say they can't find qualified workers in the region.
Senator Charles Schumer is backing a bill that would create training classes at local colleges geared specifically toward the skills locally manufacturing companies are looking for.
ITT-Goulds Pumps in Seneca Falls has about 1,000 employees and is growing.
"We have between 15 and 20 positions open at any given time," Charlie Cappellino, of ITT-Goulds Pumps said.
ITT manufactures industrial parts and pumps. It's always looking for highly technical machinists, computer aided design operators, and welders.
"We generally have a difficult time finding those skills in the local region so sometimes we have to look outside the state," Cappellino said.
The last person ITT hired was from Houston. Schumer wants those jobs filled by people in the Finger Lakes region.
"The manufacturing that we do here in Upstate New York is no longer low skill in any way. Our workers need skills," Schumer, (D), said.
That's why he's backing the SECTORS Act which stands for Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success. The bill was recently introduced into the house and the senate.
"The bill would create specialized training programs at local schools," Schumer said. "If local companies for instance need welders and engineers. That's what the schools will train for."
Cappellino believes the Labor Department's program would benefit many manufactures in the area.
"Our educational system, high schools, have driven most people to a four year college degree and we have this gap in the middle of people that need technical skills," Cappellino said.
The SECTORS Act would make up to $2.5 million of federal grant money available to help implement the classes.
"They would say, what kind of skills do you need? Then they would go to the community colleges or to the workforce training agencies and tell them, 'these are the skills that are needed, this is what you ought to train people for' and that's what would happen," Schumer said.