Updated 09/25/2012 07:22 PM
Jobs report released for Berkshire County
Berkshire County's unemployment rate drops to 5.9. But there's still thousands of job vacancies. Berkshire County reporter Madeleine Rivera tells us what local business leaders are doing to hire a more diverse workforce.
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BERKSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. -- "At age 78, another great friend Benjamin Franklin invented bifocal lenses," said Roger Suters, Community Services Director of Elder Services.
Proving that age is nothing but a number, especially for seniors who have the energy and will to work.
"My mantra is 70 is the new 40. For those who continue to work past the age of 75, it’s a great way of staying active, staying alert and staying engaged in the community," said Suters.
Pittsfield Mayor Dan Bianchi signed the Older Workers’ proclamation Tuesday morning to push more employers in Berkshire County to hire senior citizens.
"I think it’s important to recognize older workers and the value they bring to a community. The value they bring to many different work places," said Bianchi.
With Mayor Bianchi signing the Older Workers’ proclamation, there is an initiative to employ the elderly. But what is exactly is being done to keep the younger workforce in the county?
"It depends, you know, if you don’t have any experience or training, the job market’s gonna be a lot less open for you, because it limits your opportunities, what you can do," said Matthew Vitolo, a Pittsfield resident.
The recent jobs report released for Berkshire County shows that the unemployment rate dropped by two percent last month to 5.9. Sounds like good news, but Mike Supranowicz, President of Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, says more work needs to be done.
"There still are 2,000 vacant jobs in Berkshire County, so it’s really a matter of the skills mismatch that we have. We can put 2,000 more people to work, we’ll drop it down to a four percent unemployment rate," said Supranowicz.
"There’s some high engineering jobs positions, registered nurse positions. There’s a misconception in the community that there’s no job opportunities for our young people. We need the job seeker to have the skill set to fill those job opportunities," said Heather Boulger, Executive Director of the Berkshire County Regional Employment Board.
And that’s what business leaders are trying to do by setting up programs to train both the young and the old.