October 11, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Highlights Progress in Western New York Since Employment Strikeforce Announcement

TOP Governor Cuomo Highlights Progress in Western...

Governor Partners with Local Elected Officials and Community Groups - Nearly 7,400 People Found Jobs Through the Program Since May 2016

Niagara Falls Job Fair on October 12 - More Than 90 Businesses with Over 2,000 Job Vacancies Expected to Attend

Text "Strikeforce" to 81336 for Job Search Assistance and Information


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced significant progress in employment in the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Niagara Falls since the announcement of the Western New York Employment Strikeforce in May 2016 to target communities struggling with high unemployment rates. Nearly 7,400 people in the target areas have found work though the Western New York Strikeforce program since its announcement.  In addition, Strikeforce staff operating within the New York State Department of Labor have facilitated 10 career fairs and nearly 150 customized recruitments in the region since that time.


"The Strikeforce uses strategic partnerships to target communities with the highest unemployment rates and help strengthen our workforce and its success is in the numbers," Governor Cuomo said. "By bringing together state resources and local leaders, we are connecting job seekers with work and giving greater opportunities to Western New Yorkers."


The Governor's Strikeforce model was piloted in the Bronx in May 2014. After the Strikeforce's successful deployment in the Bronx, Brooklyn and other areas, the Governor activated the Western New York Employment Strikeforce in the cities of Buffalo, Lackawanna and Niagara Falls. The Strikeforce model is a multi-pronged campaign that targets areas of the state with the highest unemployment rates via an intensive, on-the-ground approach.  Strikeforce teams work with local businesses to identify openings, match likely candidates with those positions and, when necessary, leverage relationships with local training partners in order to fill any skill gaps that may serve as a barrier to employment.


In Western New York, New York State Department of Labor staff have partnered with local elected officials, private businesses and community groups to spur hiring and ensure that local jobs to go local workers.


In April 2017, to mark the one-year anniversary of the program, the Department of Labor partnered with the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Western New York to offer a large Career Fair at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Buffalo.  More than 60 businesses offering 2,200 job opportunities were in attendance.


Joining State Labor Commissioner Reardon at the April event were: Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster, Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski, Senator Tim Kennedy, and members of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Western New York.


Also, in September, the Governor partnered with Senator Tim Kennedy to offer another large Career Fair at the Revered Dr. Bennett W. Smith Sr. Family Life Center in Buffalo.  More than 50 businesses offering 2,100 jobs came to the event ready to hire.  Nearly 650 members of the local community attended the event.


Joining Commissioner Reardon and Senator Kennedy at the event were:

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster. Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and members of the Concerned Clergy Coalition of Western New York.


On October 12, Governor Cuomo will offer the Niagara Falls Job Fair.  The event will be held at the Conference and Event Center, located at 101 Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.  More than 90 area businesses and over 1,000 job seekers are expected to attend.  Job seekers are encouraged to pre-register at https://www.labor.ny.gov/careerservices/niagara-falls-job-fair.shtm.


To better serve job seekers around the state, a text line has been established for individuals who would like more information on Department of Labor services. Job seekers are encouraged to text "Strikeforce" to 81336 to get assistance with resume writing, job search strategies, connection to training opportunities and more.


New York's statewide unemployment rate stood at 4.8% in August 2017.  Since the beginning of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's administration, New York State's economy has added more than 1 million private sector jobs and experienced employment growth in 68 of the past 80 months.


State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "I'm so pleased that the Department of Labor has been able to help make the Governor's Strikeforce vision a reality. Matching job seekers with businesses looking to hire is at the heart of what our agency does. It's rewarding to see such significant progress in regions that have historically struggled with high unemployment. It's a testament to Governor Cuomo's leadership that we've come as far as we have, but we won't stop until everyone looking for a job finds one."


Senator Tim Kennedy said, "The Western New York Employment Strikeforce has been a huge success. I was proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and the Department of Labor to host a career fair last month that brought hundreds of job seekers and dozens of employers together. This program works, and I'm proud to stand with the governor and local leaders in continuing to support its success."


Senator Robert Ortt said, "We're encouraged by the progress made by the Strike Force, which is a key tool in local workforce development. Targeted collaboration from labor, business, and community stakeholders is vital to community development and economic growth." 


Senator Chris Jacobs said, "Connecting unemployed individuals to job opportunities in our community is a critical part of revitalizing our economy and I am very pleased with the strong results being produced by the Western New York Employment Strikeforce. The collaborative model employed by the Strikeforce is proving its effectiveness and I am looking forward to its continued success going forward."


Assemblywoman Crystal D. Peoples-Stokes said, "The WNY Unemployment Strike Force has left its imprint locally, positively impacting the lives of over 7,000 and still growing. Thank you Governor Cuomo and the Department of Labor for bringing this initiative to Buffalo and the surrounding area."


Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, "One of the best ways to address extreme poverty, unemployment and underemployment is to use targeted hiring to directly connect communities with high poverty rates to available jobs. The Strikeforce program is an example of how New York State is working to address poverty in the City of Buffalo. The New Buffalo has come a long way, but poverty is still a persistent challenge. We must continue to invest in programs like Strikeforce to address the critical issue of poverty in our communities."


Assemblyman Angelo J. Morinello said, "Programs like the Western New York Employment Strikeforce are excellent tools the state has utilized to connect employers with our local workforce, providing opportunities to those in need of work. I am thrilled to see the coordination between New York State, local businesses and job seekers in our community working together so effectively. The results we have seen indicate that the unemployed in our community are willing to work and that it is our duty to present them the opportunity to do so."


Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, "Partnerships work when it comes to providing opportunities and the WNY Employment Strikeforce is a good example of how we can combat poverty and help individuals find work. Thanks to Governor Cuomo, local workers are finding new roads to employment and new ways to provide for themselves and their families."


Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, "Congratulations to Governor Cuomo on a successful program. Thousands of our residents have already found jobs through the Governor's Western New York Employment Strikeforce program, which I have been proud to partner with him on since 2016. The work of all who participated was instrumental in connecting our residents who are seeking new jobs with local companies that are hiring."


Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said, "In recent years, Western New York and the City of Niagara Falls have experienced job creation through public and private investment not seen in decades. Now more than ever, it is our responsibility to connect residents with the resources and career opportunities to put them and the future of our communities on the path to success."


Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey Szymanski said, "Lackawanna is appreciative of Governor Cuomo's Employment Strikeforce because it is an important tool that is showing results by connecting people and jobs .  The goal is to create employment opportunities for our citizens who are most in need of jobs and a brighter future."


For more information about career services and hiring events, please call the Department of Labor at 1-888-4-NYSDOL or visit https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/.


For more information on the Governor's Strikeforce, please visit https://labor.ny.gov/strikeforce/strikeforce.shtm.

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office