I recently visited four chambers of commerce and met with my Small Business Advisory Committee to hear directly from our local business community. From Oneonta, to Catskill, to Deposit, to Kingston, small business owners stressed the need for an education and training pipeline tailored around local job opportunities.

NY-19 is home to excellent educational institutions and workforce development programs like BOCES, and skills training organizations like the Oneonta Job Corps Academy. Together, they help students develop the skills needed for good-paying local jobs that help grow the upstate economy. However, our rural communities continue to face workforce shortages, in part because we lack access to the most basic services students need to complete their education and workers need to succeed in today’s world. Whether it’s public transportation, child care, or affordable housing, our economy demands a more holistic approach to the workforce development challenge, particularly in rural communities.

That’s why I introduced the Gateway to Careers Act, a proposal to link academic instruction and support services in one program to yield more successful workforce development outcomes.

The Gateway to Careers Act funds partnerships between colleges, employers and local nonprofits for the development of career pathway strategies that combine job training with social services to help nontraditional and underserved students succeed. My bill provides localized job training while removing barriers that prevent people from entering or remaining in the workforce. Providing services like child care, housing, transportation or addiction treatment would help students finish their education and earn industry-recognized credentials.

Enabling more students to access comprehensive career pathway programs is vital to building strong local economies. I’ll keep working to move this legislation and keep listening to our local business owners.

Rep. Antonio Delgado

Rhinebeck

Delgado represents the 19th Congressional District of New York in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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