St. Lawrence County IDA's services coordinator now helping with local workforce development

·2 min read

Jul. 9—CANTON — The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency is transitioning its services coordinator, Lori A. Sibley, to helping employers find and retain workers.

The IDA board talked about the move during a Wednesday morning meeting while discussing employment numbers in St. Lawrence County.

Ms. Sibley told the board she's taking advantage of existing business connections she's already made working for the IDA.

"We're utilizing our page on our website to showcase the jobs available in St. Lawrence County, contacting employers ... to help them recruit those position openings," she said, adding that she's also looking at surveys of high school students that ask things like "who's going to be looking for employment after graduation, short-term for the summer, military ... or long term?"

"We'd like to get more involved with the colleges, more involved with the high schools," Ms. Sibley said. She added that she's also looking at "connecting employers with BOCES so they can offer internship programs," as well as connecting with Fort Drum to acquaint transitioning soldiers with St. Lawrence County.

IDA CEO Patrick J. Kelly said the move is in response to a national issue that hasn't spared St. Lawrence County — employers having trouble filling all of their positions.

"It's not a St. Lawrence County issue. It's a national issue. I don't want the message to be, 'You can't find workers in St. Lawrence County.' You can't find workers anywhere. We're trying really hard to be part of the solution," he said.

State Department of Labor statistics from May, the most recent month for which data is available, show the number of people employed in St. Lawrence County is going up as the unemployment rate goes down.

The department says the unemployment rate for May was 3.4%, down from 4.8% in May 2021. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits in May was 1,500, down 500 from a year ago.

Meanwhile, the number of people employed in the county in May was 42,300, up from 40,900 the same month last year.

It's unclear from the DOL statistics how many of the 500 people who went off of unemployment compared to a year ago found work, or if they remained jobless while their benefits expired.