Is Yates County fully employed?

That is the question posed at the last meeting of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC), Yates County’s sole industrial and economic development agency. FLEDC CEO Steve Griffin recently met with representatives of Finger Lakes Community College and Yates County Workforce Development Director Joe Davis to talk more about work training programs, such as the very successful Skillup certification courses at Workforce Development, which Griffin says is now being expanded regionally.

As part of that discussion the need for workers came up. From Davis, Griffin learned that currently, there are only 30 individuals collecting unemployment in Yates County. In a prior report, that number was 38, with 30 of them medically exempt from employment. So if those 30 are still exempt, Griffin wonders, what is the current state of the job-seeker pool? He also learned there are now just 40 families in the county receiving public assistance.

While those figures seem favorable from the point of view of the county’s Social Services needs, it presents a difficulty for local employers. The housing shortage and resultant pricing is cited as one of the reasons for a shortage of workers in Yates County, which has prospered singularly in recent years within the nine-county greater Rochester region that has otherwise seen overall decline. Housing projects are being built, but questions of affordability vs. comparatively low wages in the county, are still being asked.

In other business:

The FLEDC board approved the transfer of the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement for Abandon Brewing Co. to the new owners, husband and wife Anthony Noto and Sarah Struzzi, who is the daughter of Cathy Sperrick, owner of Abandon with her husband, Garry Sperrick. The board also approved a loan of $100,000 at 1% for a 10-year term, for improvements and expansion at the brewery, with collateral.