In Westchester County, there are a number of career fields that are likely to see considerable growth in the coming years. Let’s take a look at the increasingly prosperous healthcare, financial services, clean energy, life sciences, and construction industries in Westchester.
The healthcare industry has a long history of success in Westchester County, and it’s just getting started. 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 (BLS). Overall employment in healthcare occupations is projected to grow by 13% between 2021 to 2031.
“Healthcare has been and will continue to be the leading growth sector in our region for the foreseeable future,” says Jason Chapin, the director of workforce development at the Westchester County Association (WCA). “The health and hospital systems comprise a key economic sector in Westchester County, generating $18 billion in economic impact and providing over 50,000 jobs.”
The WCA has a variety of healthcare training and job placement programs for people interested in entering the field. From 2015 to 2019, the WCA managed the federally-funded Jobs Waiting program that trained and placed more than 400 job seekers in healthcare jobs throughout the Hudson Valley, according to Chapin.
More recently, the WCA is managing the county-funded Healthcare Talent Pipeline Program. The program will train more than 200 people and place 150 job seekers in healthcare positions through 2025, with an emphasis on primary health and administrative careers. With funding assistance from New York State, the WCA also has partnerships with colleges, BOCES members, hospitals, and medical groups to help train people for careers in healthcare.
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“Major hospital systems like Northwell, Montefiore, NYP, and WMCHealth as well as medical groups like Summit Health and ENT & Allergy Associates and health centers like Open Door Family Medical Center and Westchester Neighborhood Health Center continue to grow because they serve a growing and aging population who can receive high-quality care in Westchester without having to go to New York City,” says Chapin.
Careers in financial services and business are expected to grow over the next decade. According to the BLS, the industry is expected to grow 7% from 2021 to 2031, which will result in about 715,100 new jobs. Thousands of people living in Westchester are employed in financial service careers, according to Chapin.
“I work with a number of our bank, accounting, and financial group members who have seen a good amount of consolidation and expansion during and since the pandemic,” Chapin says. “They are closely connected to real estate, housing, and many other sectors that have gone through a few business cycles in recent years.”
Despite recent economic challenges during the pandemic, the financial services industry is in high demand. Within financial services, there are job opportunities in different specialties such as fintech. The highest paying jobs in the industry at the moment include financial analysts, management analysts, and project management specialists, according to BLS.
“Financial services and fintech careers will continue to attract top talent because of the competitive salaries and job opportunities,” adds Chapin.
For people interested in starting a career in the financial services field, the need exists. At press time, Indeed.com shows around 100 job listings for careers in financial services and 15 for fintech in the Westchester area.
Clean energy is a priority sector in Westchester County. This past year, the county established the Clean Energy Accelerator, an initiative focused on workforce development in the clean energy sector.
“We have established a career working group which consists of employers in clean energy and other key stakeholders in the county,” says Bridget Gibbons, the director of economic development at Westchester County. “We are going to look closely at what training programs are available in Westchester County and, if new training programs are needed, we will establish them.”
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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, the two occupations projected to have the highest growth from 2016 to 2026 are clean energy jobs. Specifically, solar photovoltaic installers and wind turbine service technicians are seeing the fastest employment growth.
In November, Sustainable Westchester is set to relaunch the Westchester Power Community Energy Program. Serving as a nonprofit consortium of local governments within Westchester County, Sustainable Westchester plays a pivotal role in advancing sustainability endeavors across the region. In January 2024, a job summit will take place for employers, students, and workers to collaborate and explore a variety of careers in clean energy.
“We are hoping to start a strong pipeline of workers from Westchester that are trained in clean energy,” says Gibbons. “Then, they can work for the energy companies in the area to implement more clean energy solutions. It’s a real win for Westchester because residents get employed and companies get to do more solar, geothermal, and heat pumps.”
Careers in the life sciences industry, which focuses on the study of living things, cover a wide range of specialties. Many people working in the life sciences have degrees in biology, ecology, environmental science, life science, or a related subject like chemistry. However, there are also jobs in the field such as environmental and food technicians that don’t require a four-year degree.
The field is projected to grow 7% over the next decade, resulting in about 99,000 jobs across the country, according to the BLS. Biotech, a specific field within the life sciences, is booming in Westchester because of large companies in the area like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.
“We are optimistic that the life sciences will continue to grow,” says Gibbons. “We know that Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is going through a $1.8 billion expansion and they plan to add 1,000 jobs over the next six years, so that alone will be a huge economic engine for life sciences in Westchester County.”
The life sciences sector is the fastest growing tradable sector in the seven-county Mid-Hudson region, according to Gibbons. In addition, there are currently over 9,000 people employed in life science careers in the region. Looking ahead in Westchester and the larger Hudson Valley region, life sciences are projected to grow by 18% between 2021-2031.
People interested in life sciences careers in Westchester County should look at job openings with leading employers in the field such as Clarapath, which manufactures robotic instruments to create tissue sample slides, and Regeneron, which develops a range of life-saving medicines.
Trade careers have the distinct advantage of consistently being in high demand. There is a need in Westchester County for construction workers who have the skills to help repair and build new infrastructure.
“Unions have training and apprenticeship programs, so if you have the desire to work hard and learn, then construction jobs are for you,” says John Cooney Jr., the executive director of The Construction Industry Council of Westchester and Hudson Valley (CIC).
Careers in construction are stable because they provide a salary of over $60,000 on average and have good benefits, according to the BLS. Job opportunities in the Westchester area are also increasing because of investments from the federal government and New York State to repair existing infrastructure.
“We are in an upcycle that is likely to continue for some time,” says Cooney Jr. The demand for skilled construction workers will continue to grow because many of the existing employees are aging out or retiring.”
Hudson Valley labor unions are dedicated to training people in the trades. Even people without any experience can begin a career in the construction field by participating in workshops and training. The industry is projected to see around 253,000 new jobs available over the next decade, according to the BLS.
“The demand is there and the portal to get people into these jobs exists,” adds Cooney Jr. “These are jobs for life, and you continue to build skills as you go. The demand in the region will not fall.”
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