County Resources to Help You Hire the Best

What’s available in Westchester to find top talent.

A skilled, educated, and motivated labor force makes Westchester businesses healthy and competitive. Building that key component of economic progress is the mission of the Westchester County Office of Workforce Investment, which, along with an extensive roster of partners, provides comprehensive state-of-the-art workforce development assistance to both job seekers and employers.

“We offer a host of services to identify, hire and retain the best possible workers,” says Donnovan Beckford, Director of the Office. “We offer a marketplace where job seekers and employers can meet. Jobs can be listed free, the employers can search our resume bank and they can interview the job seekers on their own or with our assistance.”

The office, under the auspices of the Westchester/Putnam Workforce Investment Board (WIB), operates One-Stop Employment Centers and other programs throughout the county. 

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Beckford emphasizes that workforce development efforts are boots-on-the-ground undertakings based on the real-world needs of county businesses. “We have established business sector partnerships where we work through their industries to identify the workforce challenges they face and then work with them to come up with solutions,” he says. “We’ve provided customized sector training, for example, for the hospitality industry, for the manufacturing sector and for healthcare.”

For job seekers, according to Beckford, “We provide numerous services to help them prepare for and succeed in the workforce. We have individual service representatives as well as career counselors.” Services to both employers and potential employees are free.

Job training resources are readily available for county businesses. “We offer employers the opportunity to access our funding to provide customized training for their workforce,” explains Beckford. Among the training programs frequently provided are English as a Second Language (ESL), Supervisory and Management Skills, Mini MBA, Skills-based Training and Sales Training.

Christina Vilassis, Human Resources Director for Golden Renewable Energy in Yonkers, enthusiastically endorses the training capability. “Being a new company, it was very beneficial that the WIB helped fund our training program,” she says, “It really helps a start-up company to have that support. They not only partially funded the training program but helped us design it also. They made the whole process quite seamless.”

Golden Renewable Energy is a renewable fuel bio-mass conversion facility. Vilassis explains, “It’s an extremely complicated process, so having a well-trained workforce was very important to us.”

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The company also turned to Westchester/Putnam One-Stop for help in recruiting its new workforce. “The program worked out great for us,” says Chief Operating Officer Jason M. Provost. “It gave us a good opportunity to employ people at all levels of experience in a cost-effective way.”

A comprehensive website enables job seekers and companies to post and search resumes and available jobs, access training providers, explore partnerships and find dozens of other related resources. It also alerts users to new programs that are continually offered through the Westchester County Office of Economic Development and other agencies and service providers.

In addition to the online resources, the Westchester/Putnam One-Stop operates employment centers in White Plains, Peekskill, Mount Vernon, Yonkers and Carmel. At the centers, staff drawn from partnering agencies provides a wide range of services and state-of-the-art equipment for training people to fit into the future workforce. Available resources include computer workstations with Internet connections, labor market information, training and individual employment counselors.

Businesses can tap workforce development programs that extend throughout the county. “Everything we do is through a partnership with a community organization, agency or business,” Beckford points out. For example, the Westchester Library System – with its 38 member public libraries – is a One-Stop partner that also provides GED preparation, career counseling, ESL programs, youth employment opportunities and other workforce development efforts.

The library system “shares resources with us,” explains Beckford. “Recipients of unemployment assistance, for example, have to visit a center every week. Through our partnership with the library system, they can fulfill that requirement at their local library.”

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