Business leaders meet for 2015 State of the Region Survey results

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WINDSOR, Conn. (WWLP)– Business leaders from the Pioneer Valley and south into central Connecticut gathered this morning to hear the New England Knowledge Corridor’s 2015 State of the Region Survey results.

“It allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of manufacturing to see what concerns our business owners are having.” Gene Rondeau, from United Bank in West Springfield, told 22News while at Friday morning’s conference.

During their presentations the study’s researchers explained that the majority of manufacturing companies they spoke to in the study in both the PV and in Connecticut continue to point to a skills gap as a major barrier to growth.

The study’s authors told 22News more than 10 percent of those surveyed were manufacturing companies who say they’re even more concerned about the skills gap issue for the future.

“They think that this is something that is a challenge for them and it’s made somewhat more of a challenge because of course they are going to be facing more retirement in the next few years,” Peter Gioia, Vice President & Economist for the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, said.

Another of the survey’s researchers, Mark Melnik, from the UMass Donahue Institute, told 22News that aging workforce means in 10-15 years there will be an increased number of workers retiring leaving a large number of technical skills job vacant.

“These aren’t necessarily jobs that young people have been training to slot into, so it would be important for the job training system, community colleges and so to have an eye on these particular occupations,” Melnik said.

Along with the skills gap, taxes and cost of running a business topped the list in the region as issues companies this could potentially slow future growth.

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