MILFORD -- People need jobs. Companies need workers with skills.
Milford Central School is erecting a bridge, of sorts, that can help connect job seekers with employers.
Through the Career Opportunities in Rural Education program, Milford Central has established a network of adult education courses and career advancement training programs designed to help those seeking careers land jobs with local employers or start businesses themselves.
Area residents interested in learning more about CORE's initiative are invited to the official launch of the program, scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 16 at Milford Central.
"We find so often that kids go off to college but end up not being able to use their degrees to get jobs here, and we want to avoid that," school CORE Director Liz Rickard said. "The young people tend to leave this region because they aren't finding the opportunities here."
CORE has identified a smorgasbord of educational backgrounds and job skills that could be promoted in the region to help employers find qualified workers from the local pool of available labor, she said.
These include education in the health and medical fields, science and technology, engineering and mathematics and, finally, entrepreneurship.
"We've been talking to businesses and finding out what their needs are, and finding out how to meet the needs of businesses in the most cost-effective manner," Rickard said.
CORE has lined up Hamden-based videographer Jessica Vecchione to produce a series of "Job Zone" videos, featuring interviews with representatives from local companies, discussing potential employment opportunities and the skill sets that are required to fill various jobs.
Among local employers enlisted in the project, Rickard said, are Bassett Medical Center, Custom Electronics in Oneonta, Hartwick College, Brewery Ommegang and Springbrook, the nonprofit organization that recently announced plans to acquire the closed St. Mary's School in the town of Oneonta.
Ommegang brewmaster Phil Leinhart said that his company is excited to be part of CORE's effort to connect regional employers with local workers.
"I have an unofficial policy of trying to hire local people whenever I can," Leinhart said. "One of the biggest advantages is that they are already in this area and are comfortable here."
Leinhart said Ommegang hires people with skills in sales or have mechanical skills that could help them operate packaging machinery. On the brewing side, Ommegang hires people with backgrounds in chemical engineering, microbiology and chemistry, he added. On the production side, workers with training in management skills gain an edge in acquiring supervisory positions, he said.
Next month, CORE plans to introduce two new courses -- "Do You Speak Computer?" and "Learn Inc." The former is an introductory course aimed at helping students acquire software and Internet skills that will enhance their ability to get jobs. The latter course introduces students to entrepreneurship and will highlight successful local businesses owners who will discuss what it takes to begin a small business.
Both courses are open to Milford High School students and adult education students, Rickard said.
CORE was created at Milford Central last year with assistance from a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. CORE also received grant funding recently from the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.