Business Member Focus Group Meeting Minutes Hofstra University Club





MARCH 15, 2001

Business Members Attendees

Ann Steinger, Chairperson, Top Hat, Inc.

Mark Goldstein, Vice Chairperson, M.G. Productions

Henry Graber, Financial Secretary, Graber and Company

Diane Fass, Drake, Beam Morin

Alan Nachman, Diversified Micro Systems, Inc.

Other Attendees

Clinton C. Boone, Commissioner, Town of Hempstead Department of Occupational

Resources (DOOR)

John J. Gill, First Deputy Commissioner, DOOR

Ana-Maria Hurtado, Deputy Commissioner, DOOR

Gary Huth, Labor Market Analyst, New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL)

Division of Research and Statistics

Edward Kenny, DOOR

Joann Lukas Von Stein, DOOR

Abraham Sabbas, DOOR

Annie Williams, State Representative, NYSDOL Workforce Development Division

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. The meeting began at 12:02 P.M.. All attendees were welcomed by Chairperson Steinger. Each business member introduced himself/herself and provided a brief synopsis of their business.

  3. Business Member Survey Results
  4. Mr. Kenny presented the results of the Business Member Survey. He explained that the survey was conducted to increase business participation and attendance at Workforce Investment Board (WIB) meetings and activities. The results indicate that most business members prefer to meet on Tuesdays or Thursdays in a luncheon venue.




  5. New Programs to Assist Businesses
  6. The role of the WIB business members and the philosophy of business services under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) were presented to the attendees by Mr. Kenny. He also provided the group with information regarding the Individual Vocational Educational and Skills Training (InVEST) Job Ladder Program, the Strategic Alliance Training Program (STRAP) and various tax credit programs. He also described the NYSDOL Request for Applications (RFA) for training in the manufacturing industry.

  7. Skilled Worker Shortage Survey

The members were informed by Mr. Kenny that the DOOR grant application for Assessing Local Skills Shortages was approved by NYSDOL. He asked that the members consider the nine questions for local WIBs posed by the application narrative. The members reviewed a draft survey to businesses to determine their skills needs. He stated that this grant was designed to create a permanent system for assessing and fulfilling the needs of businesses. The members were also updated on the work of the One-Stop Partner Team, the formation of the Business Services Team and the Marketing Work Group.

Chairperson Steinger made the following recommendations to market business services:

  • Reach out to employers seeking to recruit new employees
  • Develop a brochure
  • Work closely with the Long Island Association Rotary Clubs, Kiwanis and Chambers of Commerce
  • Attend such functions as Hempstead For Hofstra and other events.

Mr. Graber stressed the importance of establishing an equitable method to target the appropriate industries in the survey and to eliminate bias in the survey results. Mr. Nachman stated that, in his business, he finds that all employees require some level of training. The members recommended the formation of strategic partnerships with local businesses, such as The Home Depot, Stop and Shop, Chase Manhattan Bank, Mama Theresa’s, Old Navy and CVS Drug Stores.

  1. Local Workforce Profile
  2. Gary Huth, Labor Market Analyst, NYSDOL summarized the current profile of the local labor market. Mr. Huth indicated the local economy remains strong and is benefiting from a booming economy in New York City. Despite the slowing of the national economy, unemployment insurance claims have not risen significantly in New York State. The local economy is more complex and unpredictable than ever; however, Long Island has enjoyed consistent employment growth for many years. The chief problem facing local businesses is the disparity between rapid job growth and slower population growth. There are not enough workers and there are not enough skilled workers to fill the available openings.



    Mr. Huth stated that labor shortages exist not only in growth industries, but in those that are not growing rapidly. The manufacturing industry is one example.

    He commended the business members for asking the right questions and making insightful suggestions concerning how the WIB can respond to current conditions.

    The following recommendations were offered to the WIB by Mr. Huth:

    • Concentrate on the areas of the most intensive activity in the labor market, such as the recent simultaneous layoffs and hiring by different firms in the retail field
    • Find ways to bring more people from underutilized segments into the labor market (i.e. females, welfare recipients, disabled individuals)
    • Focus on whom employers need (i.e. technical fields, programmers and other computer sciences, engineering, biotechnology, etc.)
    • Continue to focus business services on retention, wage gains, benefits, career ladders and incumbent worker training.

      Mr. Graber supported the suggestion of developing underutilized groups and added that mature workers offer many positive attributes that call for their inclusion as well.

      Annie Williams, State Representative, advised the members to continue to base their planning and development efforts on the needs of the business customer. Mr. Graber commented that the meeting was very interesting and offered to assist in the development of business services.

      1. Adjournment

      The meeting was adjourned at 1:35 P.M.