Local Connections

 Local Connections

Troy Development Council spearheads local workforce development with website.

Corinne Minard

While many communities with populations similar to Troy have their own economic development organizations, they don’t go about it in quite the same way.

“Troy’s Development Council is somewhat unique in that it is a public-private partnership with the city,” says Ron Musilli, workforce development manager for the TDC. “The TDC focuses on larger employers since Troy has a larger number of large employers than most communities our size.”

The TDC was started in 1984 to keep Troy from becoming just another “Rust Belt” community. They hoped that, with this organization, Troy would be able to reach out to current businesses while identifying new companies.

By 2009 the TDC had assisted in more than 60 expansions or new locations in the region. This led to over $3.3 billion in industrial investment and the creation of nearly 8,900 jobs. Companies like Clopay, ConAgra, Stillwater Technologies and others have made Troy their home.

Over the last five years, the TDC has shifted from solely helping current businesses and attracting new ones to also providing employee attraction and retention, as well as career education and information.

They are spearheading this mission with a new website: troycareerconnect.com. “Our employers were not getting responses to their job postings on sites like Monster or Indeed. In addition, there was no process to help people searching for jobs to be able to see what educational institutions and career programs were available to obtain the skills needed for the advanced manufacturing jobs,” says Musilli. “So we researched to see if there were any other communities who had set up local job posting sites. We found ‘Hometown Opportunity’ in the counties north of Troy. They had a program that we liked, so we adapted their program and created Troy Career Connect.”

Job seekers can search for jobs specifically in the Troy region and can discover colleges and career centers in the area to help them further their careers. Employers can target people who already have an affinity for the region and an interest in their industry.

The website started in September 2014, focusing on manufacturing, distribution, health care and administrative positions, and has already seen success as it expands to include educational, research and training positions. The site has over 1,000 subscribers and at least 50 different companies and education institutions have posted jobs on the site.

The site has a new seasonal category for employers to use, allowing them to hire high school and college students looking for summer jobs and a new tab specifically for courses that are offered by regional college and career centers.

“The reaction has been great. We get more and more employers posting jobs and therefore we get more people signing up on the website. We are going to attend three college career fairs in the next five weeks, at which point we will be available to students to promote the website and the educational links,” says Musilli. “In the near future, we will be identifying companies in the Troy area that have apprentice programs, internships, on-the-job training opportunities, etc.”