Funds will train new generation of healthcare workers in New York

Officials in New York have approved $500,000 in funding for a $21.1 million job-training program aimed at preparing local residents for jobs in the healthcare sector.

Buffalo News reports that the Western New York Power Allocation Board approved the funding, which was set aside for economic development plans within 30 miles of the Niagara Power Plant, for the project that will take place at the former Sheehan Hospital in Buffalo. The center will focus on training for medical and dental assistants, technicians and phlebotomists, and will include classrooms and an information technology laboratory.

The move is part of a growing trend to train more workers for healthcare-related jobs, as many regions of the state experience a major shift away from manufacturing. In Southern Tier, for example, there are currently 400 job openings in the sector.

"It's been a decades-long decline for manufacturing," Christian Harris, Southern Tier labor market analyst with the New York Labor Department, told the Star Gazette. "Healthcare has taken over the reins. ... Manufacturing, unfortunately, I think there's still going to be some declines moving forward."

Harris said that many of the jobs remain open due to a "skill-set mismatch" between candidates and companies that are currently hiring.