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Report Card: Workforce development lacking in region

Buffalo's economic resurgence appears to be passing by a large swath of the region's population. According to the United Way's recent Community Report Card, 41 percent of Erie County households are experiencing "financial hardship." Michael Weiner, President and CEO of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, says better-paying jobs are available in the area, but skills and connections are lacking among the region's workforce.

"How do we help those families who are already in the workforce, maybe in minimum wage jobs, but are not positioned or even knowledgeable and familiar with the opportunities?" Weiner asked.

The Report Card highlights the problem. Between 2010 and 2017, Erie County added 17,000 lower-wage jobs and 11,000 higher-wage jobs. The county saw 6,000 middle-age jobs depart. A better-trained workforce, Weiner maintains, would work to improve those numbers.

"Recently, we (the United Way) changed our focus to give higher priority to working-poor families with young children under age eight," Weiner told WBFO.

"Because we saw that as a cohort of individuals in our community where there's a high representation of need but there's as not as many resources and services available to support that population."

Those looking to connect to workforce development resources can call 1-888-696-9211.


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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.