A new report released Wednesday by the State Comptroller shows that Central New York’s post-recession economy remains in a state of transition when factoring in unemployment, poverty and large employers moving out. However, there are bright spots including a workforce of young adults who attended college locally, a technically experienced workforce, and a lower cost of living. Tom DiNapoli has been focused on auditing economic development programs such as Start-Up New York and others which aims to lure new companies and create new jobs. He says there’s room for improvement.
“When we put those audits out there, we’re not suggesting that the state shouldn’t be focused on economic development. What we’re saying is when the state has programs and we’re pumping a lot of money out; we shouldn’t be afraid to ask the question, are we getting the return that’s expected?”
DiNapoli and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner attributed their career success to attending college. The city has seen success with tuition-free college education promised to graduating High School Seniors under the Say Yes to Education Program.
“There should always be more funds for education and a global economic development environment that we have, people are highly skilled and highly educated, are the ones who are doing well. And for us to lift everybody and have shared prosperity, people have to have pathways to prosperity and those pathways are education.”
The Comptroller feels there needs to be a broader plan to capitalize on luring the 10,000 annual local graduates to stay in the region.
“… a thoughtful discussion between the higher education community and the business community, so that while we’re promoting education, promoting people going to college… that we make sure that we are preparing people for the jobs that, in fact, business is providing.”
The report also found about 26 percent of Syracuse residents have bachelor’s degrees which is below the state average of nearly 34 percent. DeWitt and Manlius have the highest concentrations of BA degrees, 44 and 52 percent, respectively. Mayor Miner explains how the audit helps her team to monitor trends. Click here to read through Controller DiNapoli’s report.
“And that’s where data comes so integral to this discussion; so that you can show, for example, in our building trades here in Onondaga County, we have an aging population. So we wouldn’t know that unless we had the data to establish that.”
The largest employment sector in Central New York accounts for roughly more than 61,000 government employees including Upstate Medical University. Syracuse University is cited in the report as a major employer and consumer of goods and services with a student population of more than 21,000. Click here to review the full report