In the thriving landscape of Westchester County, employment opportunities are expected to see dynamic growth heading into 2024. Whether it’s healthcare, clean energy, or cybersecurity, people with a variety of skills and interests can confidently enter the workforce in the coming year.
“I think we will continue to see growth in healthcare,” says Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester. “We will also see that the expansion of Regeneron will lead to growth in the life sciences.”
The healthcare industry has a history of success in Westchester County and continues to grow. Looking ahead, the field is expected to see about two million new jobs over the next decade, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow by 13% between 2021 to 2031.
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The healthcare industry is looking to fill positions in many areas beyond nursing. Some of the most in-demand jobs in healthcare are home care and personal aid assistants, according to Deryl Beasley, the Lower Hudson Valley Regional Director at the Workforce Development Institute.
“There is going to be a lot of folks looking to hire,” Beasley says. “But the caveat there is that they also have a lot of turnover. It’s important to realize that just because a job is in demand doesn’t mean that it’s paying the type of wages that we want to see our workers gain.”
While the healthcare industry continues to expand across the country, other industries in Westchester are also hiring. The clean energy sector has been on the rise in Westchester as the county established the Clean Energy Accelerator, an initiative focused on workforce development in the clean energy sector.
“The state’s investments in clean energy, including electrification and offshore wind, will provide opportunities for careers with good pay and benefits,” Beasley says. “The building trades can provide that pathway through apprenticeship programs.”
There is a state and federal effort to transition from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy opportunities. Westchester’s Office of Economic Development and Sustainable Westchester are planning a Clean Energy Career Summit in March. New York State has forecast upwards of 200,000 new jobs in the sector by 2030, according to Thom Kleiner, Executive Director Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board.
“While many of these jobs will be new, many will also be filled by workers transitioning from traditional energy sector positions in HVAC, oil, and gas,” says Kleiner. “Significant retraining will be required, and The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board will work with educational institutions and not-for-profit partners to facilitate that.”
Another sector that will be hiring more in the coming years is the government, says Larry Gottlieb, the Managing Director of the Robert Martin Company in Elmsford. Jobs will be available at the local, county, and state levels in New York.
“Over the next few years, as more people retire, the government will be looking to fill positions,” says Gottlieb. “I think college graduates need to take a hard look at government opportunities because the jobs cover a wide spectrum of backgrounds.”
Aside from the usual booming industries in Westchester such as healthcare, professional services, marketing, and finance, Gottlieb believes the future is in cybersecurity. Jobs such as data analysts and information security analysts are expected to grow by 32% over the next decade, according to the U.S. Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Employers will be looking for new hires to have a variety of skills as they enter the workforce. While applying to jobs with experience and skills is likely to give people an advantage, many sectors are willing to help train people on the job.
“There are specific skills in every industry, but what we hear across the board from employers is that they are looking for people that have good communication skills and an excellent work ethic,” says Gordon.
People can also advance their job search by connecting with local organizations and networks such as The Office of Workforce Investment, The Westchester-Putnam Workforce Development Board, The Business Council of Westchester, and the Workforce Development Institute. While starting a new job or entering an industry can be intimidating, there are a variety of resources and opportunities available for people in 2024.
“It’s about knowing exactly what area you’re going into and what skills are required to be successful,” says Beasley. “A lot of employers, if they find the right candidate, can train them on the skills that they need.”