Congressman Nick Langworthy discussed workforce development issues and manufacturing on a tour of Weber Knapp in Jamestown on Friday.
The Congressman from the 23rd District met with Weber Knapp President Rhonda Johnson and Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier Executive Director Todd Tranum.
Langworthy said when it comes to public policy and economic development, people always seem to be “chasing a grand slam,” “We should be hitting singles and doubles. And those are realistic goals. You see too often out of Albany this desire, and obviously every governor wants legacy projects, but it’s always gotta be something that’s pie in the sky.”
Langworthy said he’d rather see investments in proven companies as well new incentives to make products in the United States to avoid supply chain issues again that were made apparent by the Pandemic
Weber Knapp President Rhonda Johnson compared employment in manufacturing at the company to a “well-stocked mall,” “When you go into a manufacturing plant, if you don’t like to do this maybe you might like to do that. You like to help people, how about HR. You like to work in a group, on a team, we have that in manufacturing. You want to work individually, we’ve got that too. There’s something for everybody. And you can make a really good wage, raise your family, have good quality of life, so we need to get more people in to understand that.”
Johnson said while manufacturers want new technology, it doesn’t make sense to invest in multi-million dollar equipment if there are not employees who have the training or are willing to get the training, “We need to have the education in place. You have to have the people who are hungry to learn that skill. The more the minimum wage goes up, the less incentive there is for people to want to gain a skill and make more money because if they can live on what they’re making, there’s not a lot of incentives.”
Langworthy said he would do what he could with help with investments in workforce development.
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