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From the Desk of New York State Senator Ted OBrien

District 55

BRIGHTON, N.Y. -- Senator Ted O'Brien commends the White House on its strong focus on job skills training as highlighted in last night's State of the Union address and by the Vice Presidents visit to Monroe Community College today. The Senator has consistently supported job skills training programs as vital tools for ensuring Upstate residents have the skills they need for available positions and the jobs of the future. Providing essential job skills training programs is a common sense way to get the residents of Rochester and the Finger Lakes region back to work in good paying positions, Senator OBrien said. Regional employers have expressed concerns that they are unable to fill vacancies due to a lack of qualified candidates. Focusing on job skills training will help unemployed New Yorkers find good jobs and will incentivize understaffed employers to grow and expand. Since taking office last year, Senator OBrien has worked to expand opportunities in Upstate New York and grow the regional and statewide economy. Yesterday, the state Department of Labor announced that in the past year, unemployment has fallen by 25 percent in Monroe County and just over 20 percent in Ontario County. In Monroe County unemployment fell from 8 percent to 6 percent, and in Ontario County unemployment has decreased from 7.5 percent to 5.8 percent. In addition, the Rochester area has gained 3,800 private sector jobs in the past year. "The dramatic drop in the regional unemployment rate is a great sign, but we must continue our efforts to grow the Upstate economy and ensure all New Yorkers have access to quality jobs. We must not allow positions to remain empty and the economy to stall because of a lack of qualified job seekers. We are fortunate to have MCC, a state and nationally applauded college which will continue to serve as a local leader in the fight to close the skills gap, Senator OBrien concluded. -30Sen. OBrien represents the 55th district in the Senate, which is made up of the eastern half of Monroe County and the western half of Ontario County, including much of the city of Rochester. Media contact: Thomas J. Morrisey Communications Director office: (585) 218-0034 e-mail: tjmorris@nysenate.gov