Long Island Regional Planning Council Approves Consultant to Help Develop Facility Focused on Aligning Area’s Needed Workforce Skills with Business Expansion

As part of a strategic regional business initiative spearheaded by HIA-LI, the Long Island Regional Planning Council (LIRPC) has approved consulting services to advance development of a new workforce training center at the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge, formerly known as the Hauppauge Industrial Park.

HIA-LI, widely recognized as one of Long Island’s foremost advocates for regional business growth, serves as steward of the 1,400-acre business complex that straddles the towns of Smithtown and Islip. The park’s 55,000-person workforce collectively delivers $13 billion in annual output.

At a recent meeting, LIRPC members authorized an agreement for consulting services between the Council and New York City-based James Lima Planning + Development (JLP+D) to provide economic and public policy advisory services for the proposed training center. 

JLP+D, which has advised major Silicon Valley firms on building out their campuses and ecosystems, will undertake economic and demographic research setting the stage for the launch of a high-impact regional workforce center. The facility would be designed to ensure that the skills of the area’s workers match the talent needs of the region’s fastest-growing business sectors.

“The Council has been a strong advocate in fostering an educated and trained workforce sufficient to meet the needs of a growing and evolving regional economy. This facility can serve as a model for additional such centers throughout the region to facilitate economic growth Island wide. The Council believes that this funding is a wise investment of taxpayer dollars to support the future growth of Long Island,” said John D. Cameron, Jr., P.E., Chairman of the Long Island Regional Planning Council.

“Supporting this center in cooperation with the HIA-LI is consistent with many of the Council’s initiatives that involve collaborating with a variety of organizations.  We look forward to creating more partnerships that help strengthen the region’s employment pipeline and meet the workforce needs of key competitive industries,” said Richard V. Guardino, Executive Director of the Long Island Regional Planning Council.

“Attracting and retaining a skilled workforce is one of the primary challenges facing employers across the county,” said Theresa Ward, Chair of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency (Suffolk IDA). “Creation of a workforce development center in the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge will position Suffolk County at the cutting edge of addressing this challenge. It will help incubate new manufacturing companies, allow existing companies to expand more efficiently, and help build the in-demand skills for our current and future workforce.

“While Long Island reaps tremendous advantages from the high educational attainment level of our overall population, we’ll only maximize our economic potential by implementing training strategies that give our most-promising industries the skilled employees they need to succeed,” said Terri Alessi-Miceli, president and CEO of HIA-LI. “Well-devised training programs deliver complementary benefits to both individual companies and to individual employees.

“When a region is preparing for long-term economic success, one of their prime imperatives is to attract and retain knowledge workers,” said Joe Campolo, Board Chair of HIA-LI and Managing Partner at Campolo Middleton & McCormick, LLP. “Long Island is competing with regional economies nationwide to attract and fortify a number of key industry clusters. This workforce center will function as a strategic differentiator and will help make sure our most-vital sectors can tap the talent they need from within our regional labor pool.”

“This workforce training center will unite a network of successful businesses, partnerships with the public sector, community, and academia to expand and improve training, expertise, and efficiencies of the workforce on a real-time basis as the economy evolves,” commented Ed Wehrheim, Supervisor of the Town of Smithtown. “I applaud the HIA-LI and the LIRPC for going full-steam-ahead with an action plan that will build on the Long Island Innovation Park at Hauppauge’s successes.”

By examining industry categories and ecosystems, and matching them against population and demographic trends, the Lima team will look at Long Island’s talent needs through a supply-and-demand lens. Their research will deliver a “skills gap” analysis that will, in turn, shape both the future center’s curriculum, its organizational structure, and its physical layout.

In addition to the skills analysis, the consulting team will undertake a partnership audit to evaluate the best ways to bring together the expertise and resources of government agencies, business organizations, and academic institutions – and leverage their combined assets to ensure the success of the training center.

James Lima, president of the eponymous consulting firm, cited Buffalo’s Northland Workforce Training Center as a potential template for a Long Island facility. He said that the public-private initiative had created a range of training, internship, apprenticeship, and permanent job opportunities that helped local employee skill sets dovetail with local firms’ talent needs.

In April, James Lima Planning + Development and the Regional Plan Association, sponsored by the Suffolk IDA, completed a full-scale, 160-page “opportunity analysis” that set forth a strategy for enhancing the industrial park’s credentials as a regional economic powerhouse.