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Employment, Workforce & Education

The Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Program Is Helping Hudson Valley Manufacturers Find the Talent they Need

 

When Johnnieanne Hansen began her role as Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator for the Council of Industry her first priority was to recruit companies to participate in the newly formed Intermediary Apprentice Program. Her first order of business was to visit with member CEO’s and HR professionals to pitch the idea.  What she heard from them, while not completely surprising, did raise some alarm bells in her head and prompted her to rethink her priorities.

“They loved the apprentice idea, they really did.  They recognized that it was one solution to finding the skilled workers they needed.” Ms. Hansen remembers. “But they also said that they did not have the time to think about apprentices or to take on a project like that because they ‘need people now!’  So unless I was walking in with people on my shoulders for them to hire, they had more pressing recruiting problems.”

She prodded them further about how they were recruiting and where they were finding candidates.  As she did so an idea began take shape in her mind that these small and mid-sized manufacturers, all different, yet all a little alike, could pool their resources to market careers with Hudson Valley manufacturers and develop a system to organize and manage candidates.

Thus, in March of 2018 the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative was hatched.

“In my previous positions as a recruiter and corporate trainer I had done some research into Applicant Tracking Systems. It occurred to me that the Council could purchase a subscription and make the service available to participating members.”  Hansen said.  “Hiring managers get a system where they can post jobs, sort and track candidates and get other resources and support throughout the hiring process. Posted jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards like: Indeed, Hotjobs, Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.”

Additionally, all the jobs are listed in one place www.HVMfgJobs.com  and a social media marketing campaign is in place to encourage people to visit the site.  The campaign is designed to target individuals most likely to be interested in careers in manufacturing.

“We thought that this might be a valuable tool for our members.  A way to give them some resources that are otherwise not accessible to them, or at least cost probative.” Hansen added.

The program launched in March 2018 with 10 companies posting about 25 jobs. Today 29 participating companies keep roughly 100 jobs posted at any point in time at www.HVMfgJobs.com.  There have been more than 100 positions filled in that time from nearly 5,000 applicants.

“It’s working.” Says Hansen. “Of course it could be better.”  She suggests that more could be done to take advantage of the applicant pool and that marketing the positions and Hudson Valley Manufacturing, in general, could be stronger.   “Every additional company that participates, every additional job that gets posted makes the program stronger,” Hansen said. “We’re good, it’s solid and it will be even better in 12 more months.”

All Council members are welcome to participate in the Collaborative Recruiting Program and its new pricing model will make it easier for any firm to participate. If you want to learn more visit https://careers.councilofindustry.org/manufacturing or email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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Possession Of A Medical Marijuana Card Alone Does Not Prove Marijuana Use, Appeals Court Holds

By Kathryn J. Russo,  Jackson Lewis PC, a Council of Industry Associate Member

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss a medical marijuana-using applicant’s disability discrimination claim because he did not state that he actually used marijuana at the time of his interview — even though he provided a copy of his medical marijuana card – and was not subjected to a drug test. Kamakeeaina v. Armstrong Produce, Ltd., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50863 (9th Cir. March 22, 2019).

The plaintiff applied for a job as a Receiver/Forklift Operator with Armstrong Produce but was not hired. He alleged that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. After he received a conditional offer of employment, he was advised that he was required to pass an on-site drug test. He disclosed to the Human Resources Director that he was registered under Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program and presented a copy of his medical marijuana certification card. The H.R. Director stated that if he tested positive on the drug test, the employment offer would be withdrawn. Plaintiff allegedly stated that he understood that the job offer would be “taken off the table” if he failed the drug test. Subsequently, the job offer was withdrawn even though the drug test was not conducted.

Plaintiff asserted claims of age discrimination and disability discrimination, including the denial of a reasonable accommodation, and the employer moved to dismiss the complaint.

The employer argued that the disability discrimination claim should be dismissed because of Plaintiff’s use of marijuana. The Court denied the motion to dismiss on this basis, given that Plaintiff did not fail a drug test and did not admit to marijuana use. The employer believed that Plaintiff’s acknowledgment that the job offer would be “taken off the table” if he tested positive, constituted an admission that he would test positive on the drug test. But the parties disputed the implications of Plaintiff’s additional statement during the interview that he “wanted to be straight-up from the beginning and if I were to get the job, it’ll be a way easier transition for everyone involved.” The Court concluded that this statement indicated that Plaintiff did ­not think he would fail the drug test. Moreover, no drug test was conducted. There was no evidence, therefore, that Plaintiff actually had used marijuana.

The Court dismissed the failure to accommodate claim because it was not clear what accommodation was sought by Plaintiff. However, the Court gave Plaintiff leave to replead this claim.

The lesson for employers is this: although it may seem reasonable to assume that an applicant who possesses a medical marijuana card actually uses marijuana, the adverse employment action should be based on something more, such as a positive drug test result or an admission of drug use (assuming, of course, that applicable state law does not prohibit discrimination against medical marijuana users).

 

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Westchester County Paid Sick Time Law Going into Effect April 10, 2019

From Greenwald Doherty LLP

As you may have heard, paid sick leave laws are already in place in a number of states, cities and counties, and new paid sick time laws are continuing to emerge. Westchester County is one of the latest jurisdictions to enact such a law. The new law will go into effect on April 10, 2019. Similar to the New York City paid sick time law, all full-time and part-time employees who work more than 80 hours per year in Westchester County are eligible to earn sick leave. For employers with five or more employees working in Westchester County — regardless of where the employer is based — this sick time must be paid.

Particularly challenging for employers is the fact that each sick leave law has its own distinct requirements, including that employers provide specific notices to employees, along with recordkeeping and policy requirements. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in significant penalties. The Westchester County law, for example, provides employees with a private right of action and the ability to recover back pay, attorneys’ fees and other monetary and non-monetary relief.

Please tune into our Webinar for a discussion of paid sick time laws and how employers can ensure compliance with the laws’ requirements.

Webinar with Speaker Jasmin J. Farhangian, Partner, Greenwald Doherty LLP

DATE: Thursday, April 4, 2019

TIME: 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm            

REGISTER NOW

 

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I-9 Audits Are on the Rise

From RBT CPAs, Council of Industry Associate Member

Audits of I-9 records quadrupled in 2018 over the prior year (the federal fiscal year). That means nearly 6,000 employers were audited, which led to several dozen civil and criminal convictions. The agency involved — Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) — “is carrying out its commitment to increase the number of I-9 audits in an effort to create a culture of compliance among employers,” it stated upon releasing audit statistics. To accommodate the increase, HSI is beefing up its army of auditors. 

Most employers don’t intentionally falsify I-9 forms or knowingly accept falsified ones from employees. They simply make honest mistakes. And that’s what lets them get by with only a civil conviction instead of a criminal one. But, as the saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse. A civil offense conviction and its associated penalties still costs money and generates bad publicity. How can you avoid slipping up? With a quick review of basic I-9 employment eligibility verification requirements and common errors

Read more

Also see Find Out About IMAGE – ICE Mutual Agreement between Government Employers

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Find Out About IMAGE – ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers

For many companies around the country, building a successful business starts with hiring a capable workforce.

It can be a tedious process. One that begins with the recruitment of qualified candidates and continues with the subsequent steps of taking those potential employees through the hiring process, all while ensuring that all documentation is in compliance with the law.

As part of the hiring process, companies must conduct regular self-assessments to uncover flaws that could be exploited by unauthorized workers who create vulnerabilities in today’s marketplace by presenting false documents to gain employment, completing applications for fraudulent benefits and stealing identities of legal United States workers.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducts outreach through the ICE Mutual Agreement between Government and Employers, or IMAGE program, to instill a culture of compliance and accountability.

Read more https://www.ice.gov/features/image 

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The Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Program Is Helping Hudson Valley Manufacturers Find the Talent they Need

When Johnnieanne Hansen began her role as Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator for the Council of Industry her first priority was to recruit companies to participate in the newly formed Intermediary Apprentice Program. Her first order of business was to visit with member CEO’s and HR professionals to pitch the idea.  What she heard from them, while not completely surprising, did raise some alarm bells in her head and prompted her to rethink her priorities.

“They loved the apprentice idea, they really did.  They recognized that it was one solution to finding the skilled workers they needed.” Ms. Hansen remembers. “But they also said that they did not have the time to think about apprentices or to take on a project like that because they ‘need people now!’  So unless I was walking in with people on my shoulders for them to hire, they had more pressing recruiting problems.”

She prodded them further about how they were recruiting and where they were finding candidates.  As she did so an idea began take shape in her mind that these small and mid-sized manufacturers, all different, yet all a little alike, could pool their resources to market careers with Hudson Valley manufacturers and develop a system to organize and manage candidates.

Thus, in March of 2018 the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative was hatched.

“In my previous positions as a recruiter and corporate trainer I had done some research into Applicant Tracking Systems. It occurred to me that the Council could purchase a subscription and make the service available to participating members.”  Hansen said.  “Hiring managers get a system where they can post jobs, sort and track candidates and get other resources and support throughout the hiring process. Posted jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards like: Indeed, Hotjobs, Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.”

Additionally, all the jobs are listed in one place www.HVMfgJobs.com  and a social media marketing campaign is in place to encourage people to visit the site.  The campaign is designed to target individuals most likely to be interested in careers in manufacturing.

“We thought that this might be a valuable tool for our members.  A way to give them some resources that are otherwise not accessible to them, or at least cost probative.” Hansen added.

The program launched in March 2018 with 10 companies posting about 25 jobs. Today 29 participating companies keep roughly 100 jobs posted at any point in time at www.HVMfgJobs.com.  There have been more than 100 positions filled in that time from nearly 5,000 applicants.

“It’s working.” Says Hansen. “Of course it could be better.”  She suggests that more could be done to take advantage of the applicant pool and that marketing the positions and Hudson Valley Manufacturing, in general, could be stronger.   “Every additional company that participates, every additional job that gets posted makes the program stronger,” Hansen said. “We’re good, it’s solid and it will be even better in 12 more months.”

All Council members are welcome to participate in the Collaborative Recruiting Program and its new pricing model will make it easier for any firm to participate. If you want to learn more visit https://careers.councilofindustry.org/manufacturing or email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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NLRB Eases Burden of Demonstrating Independent Contractor Status by Overruling Prior Decision

From Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, Council of Industry Associate Member
By: Nicholas P. Jacobson

On January 25, 2019, the National Labor Relations Board issued a decision clarifying the test for determining whether workers are independent contractors or employees. In SuperShuttle DFW, Inc., the Board reversed its 2014 decision in FedEx Home Delivery where it revised the traditional common-law test for determining whether workers are employees or independent contractors. Prior to 2014, the test analyzed whether common-law factors set forth by the Supreme Court showed that the workers had significant entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss.

The Board in FedEx held that entrepreneurial opportunity was part of a broader factor in weighing all of the traditional common-law factors pertinent to whether the worker was “rendering services as part of an independent business.” In addition to considering whether a worker has significant entrepreneurial opportunity, the Board held that it would also consider whether the worker “(a) has a realistic ability to work for other companies; (b) has proprietary or ownership interest in her work; and (c) has control over important business decisions such as the scheduling of performance; the hiring, selection and assignment of employees; the purchase and use of equipment; and the commitment of capital.” The Board ultimately found that the workers at issue were employees and not independent contractors.

On appeal, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the Board’s order and denied its application for enforcement. In doing so, the D.C. Circuit held that the Board did not have the “breathing room” to formulate a new legal test. The D.C. Circuit re-emphasized that the common-law test developed by the Supreme Court should be applied to determine whether the workers had significant entrepreneurial opportunity.

Through its decision in SuperShuttle, the NLRB rejected its “independent business” test and agreed with the D.C. Circuit that the common-law factors articulated by the Supreme Court should be applied to determine whether workers have sufficient entrepreneurial opportunity for gain or loss so as to be independent contractors, or whether employer control renders them employees. The factors to be examined include: (a) the extent of control the employer may exercise over the work; (b) whether or not the worker is engaged in a distinct occupation or business; (c) whether the kind of occupation is usually done under the direction of an employer or by a specialist without supervision; (d) the skill required in the particular occupation; (e) whether the instrumentalities, tools, and place of work are supplied by the employer or the worker; (f) the length of time the worker is employed; (g) the method of payment, whether by time or by the job; (h) whether or not the work is part of the regular business of the employer; (i) whether or not the parties believe they are creating an employer-employee relationship; and (j) whether the principal is or is not in business. 
Read the full article here

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The Need for Women in Manufacturing

 

Since March is Women’s History Month we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about women in manufacturing. Women first began entering the workforce during World War I when a large number of jobs were vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. There was a shortage of workers and an increasing number of jobs being created as part of the war effort. This led to the rise of women entering the workforce, more specifically the manufacturing industry.    

Today women represent nearly half of the total US workforce (47%), yet they comprise less than a third (27%) of manufacturing jobs. “In nearly 100 years, there has been a meager 8% increase in the number of female employees in the manufacturing industry. Not the kind of stellar advancement anyone would like to see.”

Currently over 32% of women switch out of STEM degree programs in college, only 30% of women who earn bachelor’s degree in engineering are still working in engineering 20 years later and of the women who have left the engineering profession 30% cite organizational climate and lack of mentorship as the reason.

There are a variety of reason for these statistics but Women in Manufacturing (WIM) conducted several surveys that found very few respondents listing manufacturing as a field that offers opportunities for women, and only about half could recall a manufacturing company they would consider a leader in attracting and promoting women. After seeing these results its not surprising that women aren’t entering the manufacturing field. However, there are steps manufacturers can take to make a difference.

The negative perception of manufacturing jobs has contributed greatly to the skills gap, but if that attitude can be changed it will be beneficial to the entire industry. Working directly with young high school and college level students to change those inaccurate judgements about manufacturing can make these jobs more appealing to young men and women. Speaking with educators and parents about the high-quality, good paying jobs available in manufacturing can help break down some of these stereotypes.

Mentors can also be a major factor in attracting women to the industry. “According to “Why So Few?” by the American Association of University Women in 2010, ‘Mentorship is often cited as a key strategy for exciting, supporting, and keeping students, young scientists, and engineers in the fields of STEM. This is particularly true for individuals who haven’t historically participated in these areas—such as young women and underrepresented minorities.’”

Creating opportunities for young girls to get hand-on experience in the STEM fields can also make an impact. Increasing the amount of positive exposure when girls are young will increase their knowledge of opportunities in manufacturing later on. Participating in events like National Manufacturing Day can be instrumental in showcasing the benefits of a career in manufacturing.

Younger generations also value opportunities to make a difference. Many jobs within the manufacturing industry have that potential. Author of 5 Ways to Increase the Number of Women in the Manufacturing Industry, Pamela Kan, said “Talking with the engineers at my company, they have all said – many times – that what they most love about the manufacturing industry is the ability to take their schooling and innate interests and make a difference by creating something new that can help a customer.”

We need women in the manufacturing industry and these small but impactful actions can make a huge difference. Changing the conversation at an early age and exposing young girls to STEM can make a huge difference down the line.

For more details you can read the full article here.

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New York Labor Department No Longer Pursuing Call-In Pay Regulations

From Jackson Lewis PC, Council of Industry Associate Members
By Jonathan L. Bing, Lisa M. Marrello, Jeffrey W. Brecher, Richard I. Greenberg and Thomas Buchan 

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) is no longer pursuing regulations on “call-in pay,” or predictive scheduling, that would affect most New York employers.

The regulations would have required employers, among other things, to provide call-in pay (ranging from two to four hours at the minimum wage) if:

  • Employers do not provide non-exempt employees 14 days’ advance notice of their work shift;
  • Employers cancel employee shifts without at least 14 days’ advance notice;
  • Employers require employees to work “on-call”; or
  • Employers require non-exempt employees to report to work but then send them home.

(For more on the proposal, see our article, New York State Department of Labor Issues Revised Proposed ‘Predictive Scheduling’ Regulations.)

After a round of revisions that included several exemptions to the regulations, the NYSDOL has decided to allow the proposed regulations to expire. This development is a relief for employers who would have lost flexibility in scheduling employees and responding to customers’ needs. The proposal also could have had the effect of restricting employers’ willingness to grant employees’ requests for modifications to their schedules or shifts, as doing so might also trigger penalties to employees asked to cover such shifts. The NYSDOL will leave employee scheduling to be determined by employees and employers, at least for now.
Read the full article

 

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The Magic Question for a Motivating Manufacturing Work Environment

By Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert, Professional Speaker, Coach

In the 2013 book, “The Enthusiastic Employee,” Sirota Survey Intelligence reported that after extensive research with “8.6 million employees in 412 private, public, and not-for-profit organizations in 160 countries…we find declines in [employee] morale in 9 out of 10 companies after the ‘honeymoon’ period.”

The next line in the book is even more important “It is not just that the novelty wears off; the decline – and its deleterious impact on performance – is a consequence of management practice.”

If employees are not showing up on the job with the right attitude, right motivation, or the right work ethic, it’s not their fault. It is management’s.

Either you hired the wrong person or you hired the right person that has been influenced by an already tarnished work environment.

“For the first 15 years of my tenure if someone had the right technical skills and the right work ethic but they were a curmudgeon, we would look the other way,” said Steve Pomeroy, President of Schatz Bearing in Poughkeepsie.

With unemployment at record lows and with younger generations less inclined toward manufacturing jobs, finding qualified team members is more challenging than ever. For that reason it may be tempting to do what Pomeroy did.

But, Pomeroy recommends against it, “If I could turn back the clock I would have invested more in the people side of things and in creating the right culture. When you get the right people they bring ideas to the table so you don’t have to feel like you have to bring people along.”

The question you may be asking is “how do you create that engaged workforce that contributes ideas to the company and is motivated beyond the job they’re being paid for?”

Surprisingly, the answer is simple.

You ask.

By asking you give your people the one thing that they, and most human beings crave more than anything, even more than more money in their paycheck.

Autonomy!

There are various levels of autonomy in a manufacturing environment and you should look to provide it in as many ways as possible, such as how, when, where and with whom people do their job. Plus, the more input you allow them to provide into the operation the more your people will feel they have autonomy over how things are done.

As soon as you ask the right question you will begin transforming your culture from one that is stagnant to one that is standout.

What is that right question?

Very simply this, “what is getting in your way of doing an even better job?”

The skeptics reading this are going to say the answer will always be “more money.”

That won’t happen as much as you think. Overwhelming research shows that if you are paying a fair, competitive wage with reasonable benefits, money is not the problem.

Research continues to show that employees don’t leave companies they leave their managers. They also leave the work environments those managers create.

The first step in changing your culture is to ask that question. It will instantly show your people that something is different and you want their input.

This will do three things:

  • For the ones with the right attitude they will embrace it and immediately look for ways to improve the company;
  • For the ones that don’t yet have the right attitude, it will provide an outlet to express their need and frustrations allowing you to begin working with them to develop the right attitude, or
  • You will learn quickly who is unable to make the transition to a team player with the right attitudes and you can look to make changes.

The key is setting expectations for how people will show up and engage in the work environment.

“Over the last 15 years,” Pomeroy added, “if you don’t have the right attitude to be on our team we’re going to ask you to turn it around, and we’ll work with you, but at the end of the day we’ve walked away from situations where it wasn’t working.

“It was painful in the short term but long-term it shows our people that we’re trying to create the right environment.”

Here’s the 3A Process that will begin to transform your environment into a highly motivated, engaged place to work:

Step 1: Ask the question “what is getting in your way of doing an even better job?” (you can do this privately one-on-one, or in small group sessions)

Step 2: Absorb the answers and evaluate your response to each.

Step 3: Act.
This means responding to each and every suggestion you hear. Do not allow any of the questions to fall into a black hole.

Answer each with one of four responses:

  • Yes, we can do this, and we will by (insert date).
  • This is a good idea, but the timing isn’t right and here’s why. I give you permission to remind me to look at this again in (insert date/number of months).
  • Give me more information and details and lets look at this deeper.
  • No, this is not something we’ll ever be able to do and that is because (provide a business case answer with as much transparency as possible).

If you’ve never asked for input, or if you have but people saw their ideas go into a black hole, it will take time for people to open up.  Give them that time by continuing to ask and answer whatever comes up.

By working this process you will be giving your team members an opportunity to contribute in ways they never imagined possible, and you’ll get ideas that will truly move your company forward faster than ever.


Skip Weisman is a speaker, author, and business coach working with business owners and their teams to create championship company work environments where employees take ownership of their jobs and help company leaders creating winning workplaces that are more positive, more productive, and even more profitable. Learn more about Skip and his work at www.YourChampionshipCompany.com

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The Blue-Collar Drought

 

Many people believed that robots and machines would one day take over blue-collar jobs, however, it’s actually resulted in the exact opposite. Artificial intelligence, robotics and the internet have only created more jobs. Blue-collar Industries still need workers to make sure those robots are designed, built, maintained and run efficiently.

However, today’s candidate-driven job market is falling short on delivering the blue-collar workers that many industries need.  Unemployment continues to fall, as well as the number of workers entering the blue-collar sector. By 2028 its expected that there could be as many as 2.4 million unfilled manufacturing jobs, which could result in an estimated $2.5 trillion negative economic impact on the US.

The amount of job openings in manufacturing is increasing each year, and the percentage of workers in manufacturing positions has fallen to less than 13 percent of the labor force. There are variety of causes to this shortage. Many people believe that the term “blue-collar worker” now has a negative connotation. People associate blue-collar jobs with difficult, dirty work, and it’s discouraging people from applying. The use of “skilled trades worker” or “technical careerist” is being recommended instead.

Another contributing factor to this issue is the increasing number of students getting four-year college degrees after high school. Enrollment rates continue to go up each year, reaching 20 million in 2015. This is likely due to parent’s perception of blue-collar jobs and the mind-set that college will lead to a better life. Yet many students leave college with substantial debt and enter the workforce with low-paying jobs. A college degree no longer guarantees a secure or well-paying job like it once did.

“Overseas, countries are promoting and capitalizing on skills training, while we [in the U.S.] started promoting college degrees. That’s what we put in front of our kids every day. That’s what they see on TV. Overseas they said, ‘Hey we’re going to gain on the U.S. by teaching manufacturing.”

Many people also don’t fully understand the benefits of a blue-collar job. There is a misconception that they’re low-paying jobs that require a low skill level. However, many of these jobs require less than a college degree but pay more than some professional “white-collar” positions.

The nationwide skills-gap is another obstacle that gets repeatedly discussed. Vocational education programs are disappearing in high schools, and many companies aren’t willing to invest in programs that can help develop skills in young-employees. Many manufacturing companies want and need employees with up to 5 years of past experience, but that’s increasingly rare to find.

However, even with all of this there are many positive initiatives being put into place across the county that are helping to promote these jobs. Many high schools are beginning to invest more heavily in STEM programs and trade-skills training. Companies are putting apprentice programs into place to help develop vocational skills internally. By opening up these apprenticeships to high school students they’re also exposing young adults to the manufacturing industry early and helping to prevents those stigmas from ever being formed.

The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) is involved in apprenticeship and skilled-trade training programs to help build the future workforce. And in the summer of 2018 the President also signed an executive order designed to better align government training programs and retaining older workers without college degrees. All of these efforts together are working to close the skills-gap and eliminate misconceptions about blue-collar workers.

 The Council of Industry is also making efforts to combat the skills-gap right here in the Hudson Valley with their NYS Registered Apprentice Program. The program consists of both related instruction and on-the-job training. It typically takes about four years to complete the program, and there are currently 6 registered trades to choose from: Machinist (CNC), Electro-Mechanical Technician, Maintenance Mechanic, Quality Assurance Auditor, Toolmaker, and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. If you’re a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information, or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or (845) 565-1355 to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

For more information read the full article here.  

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SUNY New Paltz Advanced Manufacturing Center receives Central Hudson Development Grant

 

Earlier this month the exciting news that “Central Hudson as & Electric Corp. has awarded the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) at SUNY New Paltz a $200,000 Wired Innovation Centers grant to enhance the Center’s 3D metal printing capabilities, allowing HVAMC to perform high-resolution printing of wax components and direct metal printing, and acquire new post-processing equipment that makes it possible to create high-quality, final use parts” was announced.

Central Hudson’s funding relied on getting matching contributions for the first $50,000 from the local manufacturing community. Many Council of Industry members stepped up to meet the challenge including Selux Corporation, Ametek Rotron, Schatz Bearing Corporation, Zumtobel Lighting and ColorPage. The Dyson Foundation also helped to initially support the center’s metal printing and wax printing capabilities by donating $500,000.

The Engineering Innovation Hub will be the new home of the HVAMC, and is scheduled to open later this year on the SUNY New Paltz Campus. It will be a brand new, state-of-the-art academic building, which was made possible by a $10 million award from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY2020 grant program. The initiative supports the economic growth of academic programs throughout New York State’s public universities and colleges. “The mission of the program is to elevate SUNY as a catalyst for regional economic development and affordable education.”

SUNY New Paltz was also awarded $1 million from the Governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s annual Consolidated Funding Application. These contributions were all instrumental in making the new Engineering Innovation Hub a reality. Central Hudson first partnered with SUNY New Paltz in 2014 and has been a consistent supporter of advanced manufacturing at the college since.

“We’re happy to continue to support SUNY New Paltz as they expand the capabilities of the HVAMC into 3-D metal printing” said Vice President of Customer Services & Regulatory Affairs Anthony Campagiorni. “Fostering development in emerging technologies is essential to our region’s economic viability and we look forward to seeing HVAMC build on its current successes.”

For more details you can read the full article here.

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Elements of an Effective Internship

 

The first month of Spring Semester has flown by and college students are beginning to think about summer internship opportunities. College students understand the value of interning and getting real world experience to put on their resumes, but a good internship should be mutually beneficial. Developing a successful internship might seem challenging but there are several best practices that can help guide employers through the process.

SUNY New Paltz shared some elements that they believe help to build an effective internship program. The most important element on that list is ensuring that interns have a clear and specific project to work on. “The best internship experiences typically include one or more well-structured projects with clear outcomes and expectations. Internship programs that are undefined, lack structure, or limited to menial tasks, usually result in more work for the supervisor and lack of opportunity for the intern to develop much needed professional skills.” By identifying a project that coincides with the intern’s major and the company’s needs, both the intern and the employer can benefit greatly.

Once a project is put into place it’s important that the intern is given the proper training to complete the project. Having a structured training and on-boarding program will help to ensure the intern has the knowledge, skills and familiarity with the organization that’s needed to succeed.  

Assigning an on-site supervisor is also essential to the success of the intern. Regular supervision and feedback can provide the necessary structure and direction to make sure the project gets completed on-time and correctly. Assigning a supervisor also “provides the opportunity to mentor interns in the development of their professional skills.” Mentors monitor the interns progress, provide guidance and ensure that the employer is benefiting from the intern’s time and contributions.

Arranging networking opportunities has obvious benefits for interns but it can also be beneficial to employers. Introducing interns to staff in different departments can provide them with additional resources to lean on. It can also help your interns experience the totality of working for your organization.

Finally, it’s important to treat all interns as another professional staff member. Interns should be held to the same standards as other professional employees. Setting these clear expectations early on will help set the tone for the entire internship. Many employers hire interns that have come to love and value the company. There is tremendous benefit in hiring an individual that you really know, rather than hiring a stranger whose trial period is on your dime.  

Creating a successful internship program requires a certain amount of time and commitment for all employees involved, but the outcome is often rewarding and beneficial. These best practices are a great guideline on how to create a mutually beneficial and successful internship experience.  

You can find the full-article written by SUNY New Paltz here.

 

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Elements of an Effective Internship

The first month of Spring Semester has flown by and college students are beginning to think about summer internship opportunities. College students understand the value of interning and getting real-world experience to put on their resumes, but a good internship should be mutually beneficial. Developing a successful internship might seem challenging but there are several best practices that can help guide employers through the process.

SUNY New Paltz shared some elements that they believe help to build an effective internship program. The most important element on that list is ensuring that interns have a clear and specific project to work on. “The best internship experiences typically include one or more well-structured projects with clear outcomes and expectations. Internship programs that are undefined, lack structure, or limited to menial tasks, usually result in more work for the supervisor and lack of opportunity for the intern to develop much needed professional skills.” By identifying a project that coincides with the intern’s major and the company’s needs, both the intern and the employer can benefit greatly.

Once a project is put into place it’s important that the intern is given the proper training to complete the project. Having a structured training and on-boarding program will help to ensure the intern has the knowledge, skills, and familiarity with the organization that’s needed to succeed.  

Assigning an on-site supervisor is also essential to the success of the intern. Regular supervision and feedback can provide the necessary structure and direction to make sure the project gets completed on-time and correctly. Assigning a supervisor also “provides the opportunity to mentor interns in the development of their professional skills.” Mentors monitor the interns progress, provide guidance and ensure that the employer is benefiting from the intern’s time and contributions.

Arranging networking opportunities has obvious benefits for interns but it can also be beneficial to employers. Introducing interns to staff in different departments can provide them with additional resources to lean on. It can also help your interns experience the totality of working for your organization.

Finally, it’s important to treat all interns as another professional staff member. Interns should be held to the same standards as other professional employees. Setting these clear expectations early on will help set the tone for the entire internship. Many employers hire interns that have come to love and value the company. There is a tremendous benefit in hiring an individual that you really know, rather than hiring a stranger whose trial period is on your dime.  

Creating a successful internship program requires a certain amount of time and commitment for all employees involved, but the outcome is often rewarding and beneficial. These best practices are a great guideline on how to create a mutually beneficial and successful internship experience.  

You can find the full article written by SUNY New Paltz here.

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Council Will Use its Collaborative Recruiting Program to Help you Recruit The Best Summer Intern Talent

One of the cool features of the Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Initiative  (CRI) is called “Job Target.”  In enables jobs posted on our board to be sent automatically to specified Job Boards such as those at Colleges and Universities.  In the coming months, we intend to use this feature to help you find the best interns for your company this summer.

We know that providing internships is one of the best recruitment strategies a company can have.  It opens a channel from a school to your company, serves as a “get to know you” period where both parties get a chance to see if there is a good fit, while at the same time enables you to get some needed work done at your business. To help our members find the best intern candidates for this summer we will:

  • Encourage companies participating in the CRI to post their internships on our site
  • Offer non-participating companies the opportunity to place their intern posting on the site at a reduced cost
  • Use “Job Target” to post these jobs on key college and University job boards such as SUNY Binghamton, Clarkson, RPI, SUNY Stony Brook, SUNY Buffalo and RIT to name a few.

Interested?  We hope you are because together we can attract some top talent to the region and maybe get some of the young people who live in the Hudson Valley, but attend these schools, to find a meaningful internship with you. If you are a CRI participant all you need to do is post your job and we’ll do the rest.  If you are not a CRI participant contact Serena Cascarano or Johnnieanne Hansen to get your intern job posted.

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New York Legislative Update — 2019 Starts With a Roar

From Jackson Lewis PC, a Council of Industry Associate Member
By Jonathan L. BingRichard I. GreenbergLisa M. MarrelloMichelle E. PhillipsDaniel J. Jacobs and Thomas Buchan

The New York State Legislature gaveled in for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session on January 9, 2019, with Democrats in control of all three chambers of New York State government for the first time since the 2008-2009 session. As expected, the Democrats are flexing their muscles and progressive legislation traditionally stalled in a Republican-controlled Senate has been given new life. For example, two long-stalled progressive pieces of legislation, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and the Child Victims Act (discussed below), were quickly passed by the Legislature.

Jackson Lewis is tracking a number of proposals affecting employers that are going through the FY 2020 State Budget Process and 2019 Legislative Session.

Passed Legislation

GENDA – S.1047 (Hoylman) / A.747 (Gottfried)

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act into law. GENDA will go into effect on February 24, 2019. GENDA prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression and includes such offenses under the hate crimes statute. The legislation codifies the position taken by the New York State Division of Human Rights. “Gender identity or expression” is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-based characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including but not limited to the status of being transgender.”

Child Victims Act – S.2440 (Hoylman) / A.2683 (Rosenthal)

Passed by the Legislature, the Child Victims Act extends the criminal statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes against children to when the child reaches 23 years of age. The legislation also extends the civil statute of limitations to allow commencement of child sex abuse cases until the alleged victim turns 55 years old. The law further creates a one-year opener or window for filing previously time-barred civil claims arising out of child sexual abuse, including negligence actions against employers, applicable to both public and private entities.

Discrimination based on Reproductive Health Decision – S.660 (Metzger) / A.584 (Jaffee)

Both houses of the Legislature passed legislation that would prohibit employment discrimination based on an employee’s or an employee’s dependent’s reproductive health decisions. The legislation creates a civil cause of action against employers alleged to violate the law, requires employers to include remedies provided under the law in their handbooks, and prescribes remedies, including liquidated damages, for relief. The bill has not yet been delivered to the Governor.

Policies in Governor’s FY 2020 Executive Budget Proposal

The Governor’s FY 2020 New York State Executive Budget Proposal includes many ideas that would affect employers. We highlight some that will be considered through the negotiation process with the Legislature that is expected to conclude on or about the State Constitution-mandated deadline of April 1. Many of these already are effective under New York City law.

Equal Pay; Salary History Ban

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal would amend the Human Rights Law to prohibit employers from inquiring about salary history or using salary history information as a factor in determining whether to offer employment to an individual. Currently, such a ban does not apply statewide, but only in certain localities, such as New York City and Westchester County.

The Executive Budget Proposal would further amend the Labor Law to require that members of a protected class receive “equal pay for equal work” in both the public and private sectors.

Workplace Harassment Protections

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal advances language to increase protections against workplace harassment by eliminating the restriction that the harassment be “severe or pervasive.” This standard, which tracks the New York City Human Rights Law, would expand the scope of potential harassment claims greatly.

The proposal also would amend the General Obligations Law to mandate that all pre-dispute non-disclosure provisions in an employment agreement allow the filing of a civil complaint. It would further require employers to conspicuously post a sexual harassment educational poster in the workplace.

Protect Breastfeeding in Workplace

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal includes a provision that would guarantee breastfeeding rights in the workplace and protect those rights under the Human Rights Law. The proposal also would require an employer to make reasonable accommodations for breastfeeding in the workplace. New York City already has enacted expansive legislation in this regard, including a policy requirement, effective this spring. (See our article, New York City to Require Private Employers to Establish Lactation Rooms and Policies.)

Wage Theft

The Executive Budget Proposal includes a provision that would increase the criminal penalties for wage theft and violations of other labor laws to align with comparable criminal offenses. The proposal would amend sections 198-a and 213 of the Labor Law to increase criminal penalties for employers who knowingly engage in wage theft. The class of penalty of which an employer would be guilty will be based on specified amounts of wage theft per employee. In addition, payment of lost wages to employees would be required as restitution.

Unemployment Benefits, Penalties

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal intends to minimize the financial impact on Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants who work part-time while they seek full-time employment. Among other things, the proposal would permit a claimant who is partially unemployed and eligible for UI benefits to be paid a reduced benefit amount based upon the difference between the weekly benefit rate if totally unemployed and two-thirds of total remuneration of any nature payable to the claimant for services of any kind during such week. In addition, the proposal would amend section 594 of the Labor Law (“Reduction and recovery of benefits and penalties for wilful false statement”) to eliminate forfeit day penalties and to increase the monetary penalties.

Extend Workers with Disability Tax Credit

The Executive Budget Proposal would extend for three years the credits for qualified employers, including for-profit businesses, that employ individuals with developmental disabilities.

Employer Recovery Hiring Tax Credit

The Governor proposed the creation of an “Employer Recovery Hiring Tax Credit,” a credit of up to $2,000 per employee in drug abuse recovery that a business employs.

Workers’ Compensation Reform

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal would permit the New York State Insurance Fund (SIF) to cancel a workers’ compensation policy based on the policyholder’s failure to cooperate with a payroll audit. Prior to cancellation, the SIF would be required to provide policyholders with 45 days’ notice, aiming to pressure policyholders to act to avoid losing coverage.

Prohibiting Public Employers from Disclosing Union Members’ Personal Information

The Governor’s Executive Budget Proposal contains language that would prohibit public employers, including local governments, from disclosing the personal information of public sector employees. The Governor said this proposal aims to protect public employees from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2018 decision that public sector employees who are non-members of a union cannot be legally required to pay agency or “fair share” fees as a condition of employment. (See our article, Supreme Court Rules Unconstitutional Mandatory Fees Imposed on Non-Union, Public Sector Employees.)

Newly Proposed Sexual Harassment Package

Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Assemblymember Aravella Simotas introduced a series of bills that aims to address issues related to sexual harassment in employment. S.2035/A.1115 would amend the Labor Law to require employers to inform employees that non-disclosure and non-disparagement provisions in employment contracts cannot prevent employees from speaking with law enforcement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Division of Human Rights, or a local commission on human rights. The legislation is in the Labor Committees in both the Senate and Assembly.

S.2036/A.1042 would amend the Human Rights Law to extend the filing period for a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights from one year to three years after the alleged unlawful discrimination practice. The bill also would toll the statute of limitations during ongoing proceedings from the earlier of the commencement of an investigation or the filing of a complaint through the conclusion of an investigation. The legislation also would amend the Court of Claims Act to extend the filing period for a claim against the State and apply the same tolling provision in cases against New York State. The legislation is in the Government Operations Committees of both houses.

S.2037/A.869 would amend the General Obligations Law to demand that a person signing a confidential settlement agreement be fully informed of the rights she will be giving up and require a signed, written waiver before those rights are waived. The legislation would void confidentiality agreements that prohibit or restrict a party from lodging a complaint with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency; participating in an investigation conducted with a local, federal, or state agency; or filing or disclosing any facts necessary to receive unemployment insurance, Medicaid, or any other public benefit to which the party is entitled. The legislation is in the Judiciary Committee of both houses.

***

Please contact the authors or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work with any questions you may have regarding your New York State legal compliance.

The Jackson Lewis Government Relations practice monitors and tracks all legislation introduced in New York and advocates for client positions at all levels of city and state government.

©2019 Jackson Lewis P.C. This Update is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an attorney/client relationship between Jackson Lewis and any readers or recipients. Readers should consult counsel of their own choosing to discuss how these matters relate to their individual circumstances. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the express written consent of Jackson Lewis.

This Update may be considered attorney advertising in some states. Furthermore, prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Jackson Lewis P.C. represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation. Our attorneys are available to assist employers in their compliance efforts and to represent employers in matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. For more information, please contact the attorney(s) listed or the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.

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EEO-1 Reporting Deadline Extended

From Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, a Council of Industry Associate Member
By: Subhash Viswanathan

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced Friday in a press release that the opening of the EEO-1 Survey for 2018 has been postponed until March 2019 and the deadline for submitting EEO-1 data will be extended until May 31, 2019.

The EEO-1 report must be filed by:  (1) private employers with 100 or more employees, excluding state and local governments, primary and secondary school systems, institutions of higher education, Indian tribes, and tax-exempt private membership clubs other than labor organizations; and (2) federal government contractors or first-tier subcontractors with 50 or more employees and a contract, subcontract, or purchase order amounting to $50,000 or more.

Filers should check the EEOC web page pertaining to the EEO-1 Survey in the coming weeks for details, instructions, and schedule updates.

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OSHA Update: Changes to Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements

From Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, a Council of Industry Associate Member
By: Michelle R. Billington

On January 25, 2019, OSHA published a final rule that rescinded a requirement adopted in 2016 for establishments with 250 or more employees to electronically submit to OSHA information from their OSHA Forms 300 and 301. Those establishments were already required to maintain Forms 300, 300A, and 301 and were already required to submit Form 300A to OSHA each year. The 2016 rule significantly expanded the scope of these reporting obligations by requiring submission of Forms 300 and 301 to OSHA, which contain detailed information about the employees who experienced a recordable injury or illness and about the circumstances of the injury or illness that occurred. The 2016 rule established a July 1, 2018 deadline for electronic submission of Forms 300 and 301 to OSHA. 

However, as this date neared, OSHA’s website advised employers that the agency was not accepting Forms 300 and 301. Then on July 30, 2018, OSHA issued a proposed rule to rescind the requirement and announced that it would not enforce the July 1 deadline that had already passed. 

Under the final rule issued January 25, permanently removing the requirement for employers to electronically submit Forms 300 and 301, establishments with 250 or more employees are still required to maintain OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301 on-site, and OSHA states that it will continue to obtain these records as needed during inspections and enforcement actions. These establishments also are still required to submit reports after severe injuries and to electronically submit to OSHA information from their Form 300A. The final rule also adds a new requirement that covered employers must submit their Employer Identification Number (“EIN”) electronically together with their annual injury and illness data submission.

OSHA identified three primary reasons for its decision to rescind the prior requirement for submission of data from Forms 300 and 301. First, OSHA determined that collecting the information contained in Forms 300 and 301—which include not only the employee’s name, date of birth, and job title, but also details about the nature of the medical treatment the employee received–would subject sensitive information “to a meaningful risk of public disclosure.” OSHA noted that its electronic collection of this large pool of data could incentivize cyberattacks and could compromise worker privacy in the event of a data breach, cyberattack, or malware. Second, OSHA concluded that enforcement and compliance benefits associated with collecting this data remains uncertain. Finally, OSHA found that collecting and reviewing this data would divert agency resources from existing priorities such as utilizing the Form 300A and severe injury reports that OSHA already collects and which have been useful for addressing areas of concern.

If you have questions about how this rule affects your recordkeeping and reporting obligations, one of our attorneys can assist.

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Manufacturing Alliance to Focus on Workforce and Taxes this Legislative Session

 

The New York State Manufacturing Alliance, of which the Council of Industry is a founding partner, is focusing on two issues of vital importance to manufacturing businesses across the Hudson Valley and the State – Workforce Development and Taxes.

On the Workforce development front, we are advocating for continued support of the P-TECH program, Career and Technical Education programs, and community colleges. Of particular importance to the Alliance is the expansion of the hugely successful Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program

In 2016, New York State provided funding for MIAP program in Central New York.  This program was met with great interest by both manufacturers and their employees.  Since 2016, this program has grown from Central New York where there are over 30 companies formally participating in Registered Apprenticeship and 115 apprentices in seven unique occupations plus another 50 anticipated in 2019.

In 2017, the program rolled out to the Hudson Valley (Council of Industry) and the Rochester Region (through Rochester Tooling & Machine Association).  In these 2 regions there are now more than, 75 apprentices at 30 companies, in 10 different trades.

Manufacturers in the Western Southern Tier are now also beginning to participate in the program, and in the Albany region manufacturers are working with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).  This momentum has motivated the New York City and Long Island areas to also request help in establishing themselves as intermediaries, proving the model is not only effective but expanding, therefore positively impacting the sector and our state’s business and workforce development as a whole.   In fact, we recently enrolled the first company on Long Island, Estee Lauder.

This model with its use of trusted associations as “intermediaries” and its collaborative partnering is a unique model of apprenticeship and is working for small and mid-sized manufacturers.  In traditional training programs, students are trained and seek employment when they are done – in an apprenticeship, a job comes first and training is supplied by an employer.  Industry participants see an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee retention. Ultimately, we see it as a technique for improved recruitment and candidate selection. As employers struggle to fill open positions, apprenticeships are an important tool in addressing workforce development needs. MIAP helps manufacturers build effective apprentice programs.

 Given the tremendous success to date, we feel MIAP is a critical tool for continuing to build a skilled workforce throughout New York State.  This program is an essential component of a workforce development strategy to grow a stronger New York State economy through advanced manufacturing.

We are seeking $1.25 million to expand the program across the state.

A 0% Income Tax Rate for All New York Manufactures

The Manufacturers Alliance has also put forward and is seeking support for a 0% income tax rate for all manufacturers to be included in the 2019-2020 State Budget.

In 2014, we were successful in getting included in the final State Budget a reduction in the tax rate for manufacturers incorporated as C-corps.  This single action propelled New York from the bottom ten to the top 10 states for manufacturing and sent a message to large manufacturers, that New York was the place to invest.  It was a proven and effective tool to retain and grow manufacturing jobs across New York State. 

However, the vast majority of manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and across New York State are small to medium-sized manufacturers organized as S corps, proprietorships, LLCs and partnerships (pass-through entities).  These small to medium size manufacturers do not currently benefit from the existing zero percent rate and actually pay the 2nd highest income tax rate in the United States.   They are constantly being enticed by other states with friendlier tax climates to move operations and invest there.  These manufacturers are looking to their home state, New York, to demonstrate that they should stay in New York and continue to grow and invest here. 

In response to the pleas from our small to medium-size manufacturers, the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, commissioned a study to analyze the impact of extending the zero percent corporate franchise tax rate to these small and medium manufacturers.  According to a study by the Beacon Institute in September 2018, “the elimination of the PIT for pass-through manufacturers would increase private sector jobs by 4,660 in the first full-year and by 5,850 in 2023.   It would cause investment to rise by $118 million in 2019 and by $147 million in 2023. The increase in employment and investment would boost real disposable income by $345 million in 2019 and $503 million in 2022”. 

Extending a 0% tax rate to small and medium-sized manufacturers would send a strong signal to manufacturers that New York State is not only open for business but making a solid investment in their economic future.

We are working hard, meeting with legislators and administration officials, to get this change included in the 2019-20 State Budget.

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What To Do About Millennials & Generation Z in the Manufacturing Workplace

 

By Guest Blogger: Skip Weisman 

I continue to hear complaints from business owners about the younger “millennial” generation in the workplace. I find it comical. I really do.

There are a couple of reasons for this:

1) The “younger” generation has always been a problem in the workplace. Even the more senior/veteran generation in the current workplace was the problem in the workplace when they were the younger generation.

2) This “younger” millennial generation is currently leading some of the largest, most highly valued companies in the world, so they can’t be all bad. I’m talking about people like, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and:

  • Lyft found John Zimmer, 34
  • Spotify founder Daniel Ek, 35
  • Instagram founder, Mike Krieger, 32
  • WordPress founder, Matthew Mullenweg, 34

Before you give me a hard time that it’s all men in that list, check out this list of 15 female millennial and Generation Z (the generation after the Millennials) entrepreneurs you haven’t heard of yet, but you may very soon.

3) A generation is a very long window of time, between 15-20 years. As I have posited to my audiences in my seminars on this topic, “do you think an older Millennial at 35 years of age, has the same needs, desires, and interests as a 21 year old Millennial?” They all agree the answer is “no.”

My point is that there are good and bad people in every generation, there are wide variances in needs, desires, and interests across the timeline of people in each generation. It’s time to stop blasting an entire generation.

Do those in the Millennial generation and Generation Z have different attitudes, habits, work ethics, and interests than those in the older generation? Absolutely! 

Is the younger generation growing up without an interest in working with their hands beyond typing on a keyboard or using their thumbs to communicate? Absolutely!

Is this going to make it harder for manufacturing companies to find qualified, skilled, and already trained workers to step into roles? Absolutely!

Just like every younger generation always has different quirks than the older generation. 

Yes, it may be more acute than ever for manufacturers and other trade industries because of the dearth in fundamental skills required in those work environments, but it’s not impossible to overcome.

It starts with a mindset shift on the part of the leaders of the manufacturing firms. Instead of expecting ready made machinists, welders, and others needed in a manufacturing process, it may require an expectation of finding those who want an opportunity to learn a trade and invest in them first.

This may have some advantages:

  • They come with little or no bad habits in doing your type of work.
  • You can mold them to be what you need them to be and teach them your way from the beginning.
  • They become pretty loyal since you and those at your company gave them a chance and became their mentor.

Every generation comes into the work environment with some deficiencies that cause challenges for those in charge and need to get things done. It’s just our turn now to be on that side.

Some may remember that back in the 1950s and early 60s when the older generation was thinking Elvis Presley and the Beatles were undermining society?

At the beginning of the 1970s the flower children of the late 60s came into the workforce with an attitude to “not trust anyone over 30.”

Not long after I started my small business coaching and consulting,  about 10 years ago, I had a client who complained to me about the work ethic and the focus of his Gen Y employees.

His complaint was that they weren’t motivated enough for advancement. They were too complacent and comfortable and only wanted to focus on their personal life and family. They weren’t ambitious enough for him.

Now, this generation, for some, is too ambitious. They have an “entitlement” mentality, think they know it all and should be advancing before they’re ready.*

You can’t have it both ways.  And, I will argue you should want more of the latter and less of the former. They’re easier to mold and coach to become what they want and what you may need.

I say embrace that latter mentality and use it to your company’s advantage.

Every one of my clients has at least one young millennial who is a superstar at their company, pushing older generation folks to get better, faster, up to speed on technology.

I think that’s a good thing.

Maybe the problem isn’t the younger generation in the workforce but the older generation doing the hiring.

And, remember, if you’re still worried about the Millennial generation in the workplace, it’s too late. You better start learning about Generation Z, which is already starting to infiltrate the workplace.  

*(SIDE NOTE: You may also have the alternative “entitlement” mentality. That’s the other end of the generation scale with veteran employees who expect to have their job and their salary increases without improving their skills, keeping up with technology, not expecting to have to bring any additional value to the company as they wait for the calendar to turn the page to retirement.)

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Manufacturing Alliance to Focus on Workforce and Taxes this Legislative Session

The New York State Manufacturing Alliance, of which the Council of Industry is a founding partner, is focusing on two issues of vital importance to manufacturing businesses across the Hudson Valley and the State – Workforce Development and Taxes.

On the Workforce development front, we are advocating for continued support of the P-TECH program, Career and Technical Education programs, and community colleges. Of particular importance to the Alliance is the expansion of the hugely successful Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program

In 2016, New York State provided funding for MIAP program in Central New York.  This program was met with great interest by both manufacturers and their employees.  Since 2016, this program has grown from Central New York where there are over 30 companies formally participating in Registered Apprenticeship and 115 apprentices in seven unique occupations plus another 50 anticipated in 2019.

In 2017, the program rolled out to the Hudson Valley (Council of Industry) and the Rochester Region (through Rochester Tooling & Machine Association).  In these 2 regions there are now more than, 75 apprentices at 30 companies, in 10 different trades.

Manufacturers in the Western Southern Tier are now also beginning to participate in the program, and in the Albany region manufacturers are working with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).  This momentum has motivated the New York City and Long Island areas to also request help in establishing themselves as intermediaries, proving the model is not only effective but expanding, therefore positively impacting the sector and our state’s business and workforce development as a whole.   In fact, we recently enrolled the first company on Long Island, Estee Lauder.

This model with its use of trusted associations as “intermediaries” and its collaborative partnering is a unique model of apprenticeship and is working for small and mid-sized manufacturers.  In traditional training programs, students are trained and seek employment when they are done – in an apprenticeship, a job comes first and training is supplied by an employer.  Industry participants see an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee retention. Ultimately, we see it as a technique for improved recruitment and candidate selection. As employers struggle to fill open positions, apprenticeships are an important tool in addressing workforce development needs. MIAP helps manufacturers build effective apprentice programs.

 Given the tremendous success to date, we feel MIAP is a critical tool for continuing to build a skilled workforce throughout New York State.  This program is an essential component of a workforce development strategy to grow a stronger New York State economy through advanced manufacturing.

We are seeking $1.25 million to expand the program across the state.

A 0% Income Tax Rate for All New York Manufactures

The Manufacturers Alliance has also put forward and is seeking support for a 0% income tax rate for all manufacturers to be included in the 2019-2020 State Budget.

In 2014, we were successful in getting included in the final State Budget a reduction in the tax rate for manufacturers incorporated as C-corps.  This single action propelled New York from the bottom ten to the top 10 states for manufacturing and sent a message to large manufacturers, that New York was the place to invest.  It was a proven and effective tool to retain and grow manufacturing jobs across New York State. 

However, the vast majority of manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and across New York State are small to medium-sized manufacturers organized as S corps, proprietorships, LLCs and partnerships (pass-through entities).  These small to medium size manufacturers do not currently benefit from the existing zero percent rate and actually pay the 2nd highest income tax rate in the United States.   They are constantly being enticed by other states with friendlier tax climates to move operations and invest there.  These manufacturers are looking to their home state, New York, to demonstrate that they should stay in New York and continue to grow and invest here. 

In response to the pleas from our small to medium-size manufacturers, the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, commissioned a study to analyze the impact of extending the zero percent corporate franchise tax rate to these small and medium manufacturers.  According to a study by the Beacon Institute in September 2018, “the elimination of the PIT for pass-through manufacturers would increase private sector jobs by 4,660 in the first full-year and by 5,850 in 2023.   It would cause investment to rise by $118 million in 2019 and by $147 million in 2023. The increase in employment and investment would boost real disposable income by $345 million in 2019 and $503 million in 2022”. 

Extending a 0% tax rate to small and medium-sized manufacturers would send a strong signal to manufacturers that New York State is not only open for business but making a solid investment in their economic future.

We are working hard, meeting with legislators and administration officials, to get this change included in the 2019-20 State Budget.

 

 

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State of The State Health-care Roundup

From the NY Torch By Bill Hammond (click here for full article)

Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s combined State of State and budget address on Tuesday.

Given the widespread support for a statewide single-payer plan in the Legislature, and the health coverage expansions recently announced by other Democratic governors and Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo might have been expected to respond with a splashy proposal of his own.

Instead, he called for appointing a commission to study “options for achieving universal access” and report back by December – a clear sign that he has no stomach for tackling the issue in this session.

The commission’s mandate, as described near the bottom of his press release, does not mention the concept of single-payer, which has passed the Assembly in each of the past four years, and enjoys broad support in the Senate’s newly installed Democratic majority:

This review process will consider all options for expanding access to care, including strengthening New York’s commercial insurance market, expanding programs to include populations that are currently ineligible or cannot afford coverage, as well as innovative reimbursement models to improve efficiency and generate savings to support expanded coverage.

Cuomo has said he supports single-payer at the federal level, but thinks a state-only plan – conservatively estimated to require a $139 billion tax hike – is not practical.

Also notably missing from his spending plan was any reform of the notoriously dysfunctional $1.1 billion Indigent Care Pool, which theoretically compensates hospitals for charity care but distributes the money with little rhyme or reason.

The health-related proposals the governor did include in his budget were relatively small-bore, such as requiring certain insurers to cover in vitro fertilization, bolstering an existing mandate for coverage of birth control and reinforcing and expanding the state laws that legalize abortion.

Meanwhile, his administration’s efforts to control Medicaid costs – a success story in his early years as governor – show signs of falling apart.

(click here for full article)

 

 

 

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New York Minimum Wage Increases

 

From Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

An increase in the minimum wage, intended to eventually bring New York’s state minimum wage to $15 an hour, went into effect on December 31.

As a result of a measure signed into law in April 2016, the state will continue to see minimum wage increases implemented on a regional basis. The state’s current basic minimum wage is $10.40 an hour.

Under this law, New York City employers with 11 or more employees will see the minimum wage go to $15 an hour on December 31. New York City employers with fewer than 11 employees will see the minimum wage increase to $13.50 on December 31 and rise $1.50 next year, reaching $15 at the end of 2019.

Long Island and Westchester counties will see the minimum wage rise to $12 on December 31 and then go up $1 per year, reaching $15 at the end of 2021.

The rest of the state will see the minimum wage hit $11.10 on December 31 and go up 70 cents per year until it reaches $12.50 at the end of 2020. After that, the minimum wage will continue to increase to $15 an hour on an indexed schedule.

The law contains a “safety valve” that will allow state officials beginning in 2019 to consider the effects of wage increases on regional economies before permitting scheduled increases to go into effect.

The minimum salary required for administrative and executive employees to be exempt from overtime pay in New York State is set to increase as well. Beginning December 31, 2018, the salary thresholds are as follows:

  •             NYC employers with 11 or more employees, $1,125 per week.
  •             NYS employers with 10 or fewer employees, $1,012.50 per week.
  •             For Nassau, Westchester, and Suffolk County employers, $900 per week.
  •             For other employers, $832 per week.

We are currently reviewing all employee pay rates and will be in touch shortly to discuss any necessary pay adjustments. If you have any questions, please contact us at 845-471-1200

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Create Your Championship Company Culture By Modeling a World Series Champion

 

By Guest Blogger Skip Weisman

You would think that creating a championship culture is easy with athletes making multi-millions of dollars each season.

But, in my experience, it is just as hard creating a championship culture in that environment as it is creating it in a small manufacturing company.

Baseball managers have to deal with players that show up with attitudes, behaviors and performance similar to your employees.

I know that’s hard to believe but they have to deal with athletes with…

  • inflated egos,
  • an inability to take feedback and coaching,
  • closed minds to changing how they are doing things because they’ve had a lot of success doing it their way for a long time,  not believing their way will not get their performance to the next level.
  • an attitude focusing more on the position they are asked to play, or their playing time, rather than what is best for the team overall.

All of those issues are just like the complaints I hear from the small business owners and CEOs I speak with. 

Does any of that sound familiar?

If so, you may want to take an approach like Alex Cora used during this baseball World Series championship season for the Boston Red Sox.

First-year manager Alex Cora created a unique culture among his team and led his team to victory in five games over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Red Sox beat the Dodgers when you consider that in the midst of the team’s playoff run one of Los Angeles’ key players, Manny Muchado, was quoted as saying, “I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle’ and run down the line, that’s not my personality, it’s not who I am.”

I’m not sure Muchado would have fit with the Red Sox culture that Cora created.

You don’t win a record 108 games during a 162 game season for a .667 winning percentage, among the best in the history of Major League Baseball, as Cora’s Red Sox did in 2018 with players who have that type of “personality.”

Your company, regardless of the industry its in, be it manufacturing, banking, law, accounting, or any other service company with employees with attitudes like that.

Cora’s was a simple approach.

He treated each of his team members like a human being and not an object, that was simply a means to an end goal.  

That may seem like an obvious strategy, yet I’ve seen too many business leaders do the latter and not the former. As a matter of fact a recent client, the owner of a 20-employee construction restoration company told me, “Skip the biggest thing I’ve come to realize in my six weeks of working with you is that I’ve been objectifying people. I’ve been seeing my employees solely as objects to help me achieve my goals.”

Here are two examples of Cora’s championship culture building approach:

  1. After losing Game #3 of the World Series in a record 18-innings over seven hours… “Cora walked into the clubhouse and called everyone together. He looked at each one of them and said he was grateful for their effort and proud to be part of their team.” “It was emotional,” shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. “By the end of it, we felt like we won the game.” (ESPN.com, Tim McKeown, Oct. 29, 2018)
  2. “Asked whether he ever gets angry with his players — in other words: Is your calm exterior an elaborate lie? — he said, “No, I don’t. I talk to them. If I have something to tell them, I just sit with them. Casual, very casual. I try to have good conversations.” (ESPN.com, Tim McKeown, Oct. 29, 2018)

It’s not rocket science, it’s human science. It all comes down to good championship caliber communication. Which is always prompt, direct, and respectful. It sounds easy, and it’s not. If it were you’d be getting championship performance at your company.

You can create a Championship Company Culture just like Alex Cora did with his Boston Red Sox. All you need is your own game plan and a commitment to championship caliber communication.

Easier said than done, I know. A good place to start is simply looking at your company work environment as if it were an athletic team. If it were, which of the four categories would you place it in:

  • Losing
  • Winning
  • Playoff
  • Champion

In 2017 the Red Sox were a playoff team. They lost in the first round of the playoffs. They changed managers.

The new manager changed the culture and became a champion.

Are you the manager who can create your own championship company culture that will achieve high-performance results like Alex Cora?

If so, where would you start?

Here are two questions you can use to evaluate the best place to start:

  • What is happening in your workplace that MUST stop happening?
  • What is NOT happening in your workplace that MUST start happening?

Your answers will identify things you’ve been tolerating in your work environment that have been preventing your team members from doing an even better job. Start cleaning up those and you’ll be on your way to creating your championship company culture like Alex Cora and the Red Sox.

 

About the Author:

Skip Weisman is a professional keynote speaker, author, business coach and consultant working with business owners, CEOs, executive teams, and non-profit organization leaders, PLUS their employees to create Championship Company Cultures.

Skip served as President & CEO of the Hudson Valley Renegades between 1994-2001 and was instrumental in relocating the Renegades from Erie, Pennsylvania bringing professional baseball to the region in 1994.

Skip served as CEO of 5 baseball franchises beginning at age 26. Skip’s teams were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Ray, and Texas Rangers. Over his last eight years in baseball

Skip has been with small businesses since baseball in 2002 and has worked with members of the Council of Industry and others in the manufacturing, insurance, banking, accounting and other technical business services companies, including Micromold Products, Inc., Empire State Bank, Hudson-Greene Federal Credit Union, Ulster Insurance, and RBT CPAs.

To learn more about Skip visit www.YourChampionshipCompany.com, or email him at Skip@WorkplaceCommunicationExpert.com .

 

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Join The Recruiting Initiative

The Council of Industry has launched a Collaborative Recruiting Initiative, designed to allow HV Manufacturing companies to work together to promote the manufacturing sector, attract candidates and ultimately pace them into manufacturing jobs. 

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