67th annual meeting highlights economic development
OSWEGO — Business and education leaders, along with local and federal officials, gathered Friday for the annual Operation Oswego County meeting at Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center to address economic and workforce development in the county.
Now in its 67th iteration, the event served as Operation Oswego County’s (OOC) annual activity summary and an opportunity for the organization to reward business leaders in the community with achievement awards.
The Ally Award for 2019, which according to a release issued by the nonprofit is presented to partners and programs for their “enhancement of workforce readiness skills for the betterment of the county,” was awarded to Cayuga Community College’s (CCC) Fulton campus.
Carla DeShaw, who is the executive dean of community education and workforce development at CCC and delivered the keynote address this year, briefed attendees on the American College Testing (ACT) Work Ready Oswego NY initiative, which she said offers career training and aims to diversify the workforce pool for local employers.
“Supported by OOC and the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, ACT Work Ready Oswego NY closes the skills gap for the local workforce, offering essential training opportunities to prepare them for the demands of current and future jobs,” DeShaw said.
Individuals enrolled in the program who complete three core assessments earn an ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate, which serves as a national citation of their workforce skills, DeShaw said.
According to CCC officials, ACT WorkKeys centers have been established at the college’s Fulton Campus, Oswego County Opportunities offices in Fulton and Oswego and CiTi BOCES.
DeShaw highlighted the importance of the program’s success, adding that If it reaches its benchmarks, the county would be the first location in the northeast part of the country with an ACT Work Ready Community designation.
Further, earning that distinction could help draw new businesses to the area, DeShaw said.
OOC Director L. Michael Treadwell praised the college for its efforts to fortify the local workforce, adding he looks forward to collaborating with CCC on future programs.
“There’s nothing more important than having a skilled workforce available to help existing companies expand or attract new businesses,” Treadwell said. “Cayuga Community College has dedicated itself to creating initiatives supporting our workforce and industries, and their work over the past year is already benefiting Oswego County.”
During the presentation, Treadwell also reviewed a summary of economic development projects OOC was a part of in 2018 and the projects the organization will tackle in the near future.
Treadwell included projects such as the mixed-use commercial and residential space known as the Litatro Building — which will stand where the former Global Buffet building used to be located — and the renovated Bishop Commons.
Congressman John Katko, R-Camillus made an appearance at the meeting, and addressed local economic development trends and potential avenues for growth.
“There is a very different vibe in the Oswego area from 2014 to today,” the congressman said. “When I look at Oswego back then and today I look at it in terms of the trading business and tourism. Trade starts at the port and when I look at the port it seems to be trending in the right direction. I’d like to see more commerce coming into this port and generating more business.”
Katko also praised local efforts to support longtime mainstays of economic development in the region.
“The nuclear industry is alive and well,” he said. “The amount of jobs it generates and the amount of business it generates, I cannot imagine Oswego without it."