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Schumer pledges to boost region's job growth

Training funds sought

Backed up by steamfitters’ union members, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (left) talks at a press conference Monday Feb. 20 about how he’ll be lobbying for a federal grant of $750,000 to $1 million to bankroll technical training in hazardous materials cleanup, to be offered at the union’s training center soon to be constructed in Tech Meadowsindustrial park in Queensbury. Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond (right), welcomed Schumer to the city-owned park.

Backed up by steamfitters’ union members, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (left) talks at a press conference Monday Feb. 20 about how he’ll be lobbying for a federal grant of $750,000 to $1 million to bankroll technical training in hazardous materials cleanup, to be offered at the union’s training center soon to be constructed in Tech Meadowsindustrial park in Queensbury. Glens Falls Mayor Jack Diamond (right), welcomed Schumer to the city-owned park. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Union worker Jerry Girard stood behind a banner among a dozen of his peers welcoming U.S. Sen Schumer (D-NY) Monday Feb. 20 to a plot of land in Tech Meadows business park — where his pipefitters’ union will soon be constructing a training center. The facility is envisioned to instruct job-seekers and workers from all over northern New York in high-technology skills.

As Schumer read from a prepared statement about how he’d lobby for $750,000 to $1 million in federal job training funds for the training center, he paused to gather his thoughts.

Jerry Girard, of Warrensburg and Glens Falls, tilted his hard-hat and finished the senator’s sentence.

“Local jobs for local people,” Girard said.

Schumer smiled, and seconded the thought.

“We want Glens Falls at the center of the action, with local workers getting the jobs that are available — and I will go to bat and do what I can to bring this grant home,” he said.

Schumer talked Monday at a press conference attended by about 50 business leaders about his support of job growth and economic development in the Glens Falls region and the state’s northern counties.

He noted how General Electric’s ongoing $1 billion PCB dredging project, in its initial phase, had employed 500 workers around the clock, and they had received intensive training hazardous materials handling. But many of those at work on the GE project cleaning up the Hudson River were brought in from neighboring states due to their advanced skills, Schumer said.

A local training center, focusing on developing such skills, could combat this importation of workers, he said, adding that specialized skills were also needed by potential employees of the GlobalFoundries semiconductor plant recently established in Malta.

“I want workers here to be ‘in’ on the action,” Schumer said. “This will help train people for good-paying jobs for which there’s a real need.”

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