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New Westchester Jobs Initiative To Connect Employers With The Unemployed

Rob Astorino explains "Hire Westchester," wherein the county will pay half of a company's training costs for new hires up to $20,000 per business. Video Credit: Suzanne Samin

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Unemployed Westchester County residents will be able to take advantage of a new public service that will connect employers with skilled employees, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino announced on Monday.

As part of "Hire Westchester," the county will pay half of a company's training costs for new hires up to $20,000 per business - the only catch is the new hires must be unemployed Westchester residents.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 6.3-percent of Westchester residents are currently unemployed, rivaling New York state's 7.6-percent, and the United State's 7.3-percent.

Astorino said he anticipates taxpayers will benefit all around from this initiative.

"(Taxpayers) win on both ends, because they're not paying for the service, but at the same time they can also go back to work," he said.

He attributed part of the inception of the initiative to his meetings with the United Black Clergy of Westchester, who stressed the need for inner city youth to have resources to help them become gainfully employed.

The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board (WIB) received $100,000 from the Westchester County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to kickstart the program and employ 75 Westchester residents as an initial goal.

This would allot approximately $1,333 per employee.

According to WIB officials, participating companies will be eligible for reimbursements on worker's wages during the training period, along with equipment and room rental.

Additionally, the WIB has launched the One-Stop Employment Center, which will help guide businesses through recruiting talent, along with developing comprehensive training plans.

InspiriaMedia, a White Plains-based digital media company, is among the companies participating. Thanks to Hire Westchester, two qualified county residents will be taking jobs with them in the near future.

My Favorite Student, a care-package delivery service based in Scarsdale, has also made new hires through using Hire Westchester.

"For small business, increasing your staff can be a very daunting process," said Aron Mayers, president of My Favorite Student.

Mayers said with the help of the new initiative, hiring new employees will allow his business to grow, without facing the potential drawbacks his small business may not be able to afford.

According to Astorino, Hire Westchester is mostly geared to small businesses in Westchester as of present, but may expand in the future.

Any unemployed Westchester resident is eligible to sign up regardless of experience level, and can visit the initiative's new website here.

Interested companies should contact program developer Bob Fois at (914) 995-4976.

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