TICONDEROGA — International Paper’s Ticonderoga mill was the backdrop Monday as U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand detailed her plan to train more people for good-paying high-tech jobs.
After first touring the cavernous paper machine room at the 610-worker facility, Gillibrand (D-NY) stood before a podium in the mill’s main conference room to tout the benefits of the legislation she’s sponsoring to expand and attract more high-tech manufacturing within New York state, as well as training workers for the jobs that are created.
“The No. 1 issue in the North Country and around the state is how can we get our economy to grow?” she told a gathering of area business leaders and mill staff. “We have to make sure next-generation manufacturing can thrive and grow in New York.”
She is the primary sponsor and author of the Made In America Manufacturing Act, just introduced in Congress. Gillibrand said the bill has several co-sponsors in the Senate and a sponsor in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).
“It targets exactly what our manufacturers have asked for,” Gillibrand said. “It would create a revolving-loan fund available to manufacturers.
“Second, it would fund job-training programs so jobs can go to the workers that are available.”
Gillibrand said one of the issues she hears over and over is that jobs are available but potential workers are not trained for them, and her bill is designed to address that problem. She pointed to a 2011 study by the Manufacturing Institute that said 600,000 manufacturing jobs across the nation went unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers to do them.
Ticonderoga Mill Manager Chris Mallon said Gillibrand has shown continued support for the paper industry and the North Country in general.