Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says his office has been working with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership on work force development issues for the past year.
"We know, and some people sometimes question it, that there are jobs available in Erie County, but, unfortunately, many of the manufacturers in these types of industries can't find the people to fill those jobs because they don't have the right skills to fill them," Poloncarz said.
And the concern there, he said, is making sure those companies and those jobs stay in Western New York.
Poloncarz has pledged his support for a bill to create a federal funding competition that would benefit job training programs.
"We're working together to bring the employers and the job trainers together, and I know with passage of the Senator's act, it will make it easier for us to address these work force development areas," Poloncarz said.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced details about the proposal -- the "Made in America Manufacturing Act" -- during a recent visit to Harper International, a maker of thermal-processing equipment in Lancaster.
The proposed legislation would create a competitive program that awards states and regions with funding to support local manufacturers through low-interest loans to build new facilities and upgrade equipment, and access to capital and technical assistance to develop exporting opportunities and to connect innovative small suppliers with larger companies.
Funding would also go towards job training and vocational education programs that partner businesses with colleges, local workforce centers, and other skill providers to prepare workers for manufacturing jobs.