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Strikeforce to connect jobseekers with available positions in areas with highest unemployment rates

ALBANY - An Unemployment Strikeforce, a new multi-pronged campaign to target areas of the State with the highest unemployment rates and boost employment was announced on Thursday. In partnership with New York State, Empire State Development, the State Department of Labor and other partners, the campaign will be strategically focused in Bronx County, Jefferson County, Lewis County and Kings County respectively through the end of 2014.

“The Unemployment Strikeforce is the latest in a series of efforts this administration has undertaken to tackle unemployment in communities where it is most pervasive,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “This new initiative brings together major players from both the public and private sectors in order to assist New Yorkers in areas with the highest unemployment rates overcome barriers to finding work. This Strikeforce will go a long way toward connecting hard-working New Yorkers with job opportunities in their communities.”

Since Governor Cuomo took office, he has worked to streamline economic development, job training and job placement. The New York State unemployment rate has dropped from 8.2 percent to 6.7 percent, the New York State economy has created more than 440,400 private sector jobs and New York is one of only 17 states to have regained all of the private sector jobs lost during the recession.

The initiative will first be piloted in Bronx County, which has the highest unemployment rate in the state, according to state and federal data. After that, the Strikeforce will direct similar resources to the three other target counties.

Equipping New York trainers and workers with the skills that employers are demanding is a key priority of Strikeforce. JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills at Work Initiative was designed to address this issue in communities across the country, and the firm announced today it will invest $20 million in New York over the next five years. A critical component of this initiative includes sector-based, employer-driven training to give more New Yorkers the skills they need to get back to work.

“Although there is a significant number of Americans looking for work, we hear from clients every day about the challenges they face finding workers with the right skills for jobs that are open right now,” said Priscilla Almodovar, head of Chase’s Community Development Banking. “That’s why we’re working with community leaders across New York – technical training programs, community colleges, policymakers and employers – to help address these issues.”

In the Bronx, this investment will be aimed at connecting individuals to jobs and training in six high-demand sectors: Healthcare, Information Technology, Office and Administration, Transportation and Warehousing, Sales, and Hospitality.

Dedicated Strike Force staff will work closely with local elected officials and community-based organizations in the Bronx to connect jobseekers with local business opportunities.

Anyone looking for a job should visit their nearest Department of Labor Career Center, which can be found here: www.labor.ny.gov/career-center-locator.