PUTNAM POSTING: When Will People Realize the Golden Opportunity Right in Front of Us?

Jennifer Maher | July 14, 2017

Jobs, local jobs, local jobs with minimal college debt. Some of us keep repeating the mantra over and over, but it often seems to fall on deaf ears. With all the talk of burdensome student debt, free college, minimum wages and even a proposed (ugh!) Universal Basic Income, the fact is that right here in the Hudson Valley are opportunities for young people (and their parents!) to alter their expectations and take advantage of the demand for moderately-skilled, technically savvy workers at factories, on farms, and in the trades.

Did you know that tech giant GLOBALFOUNDRIES, now in East Fishkill as well as in upstate Malta, NY and Burlington, VT, is hiring? Much news has been made of the jobs that were lost as the company restructured after the IBM deal, but this is a hot industry, and local talent willing to be trained in the technical work of the semiconductor industry is always welcome to apply. Other such companies with varying degrees of technical advancement are also seeking help. Please don’t let the word “technical” scare you. Can you turn a wrench? Are you willing to get your hands dirty? Is your driving license clean? You may possess the necessary qualifications.

Here in Putnam County we have some great opportunities developing as well. For example, take the developments at Tilly Foster Farm. The BOCES culinary program helps students learn a valuable trade that can help them find jobs at Hudson Valley restaurants, caterers, and other establishments. And the demand is high for such skills. Meanwhile the 4H and Cornell Cooperative Extension are collaborating to offer a Junior Vet course at Tilly Foster Farm, with future courses in Veterinary Science and Agriculture planned. Again, these are useful skills that can translate into great local careers. Please consider these options when helping to plan your child’s future studies.

The ‘Uber’ Impact of Ridesharing on Putnam County

Ridesharing is the rage in New York State lately, and for Putnam County there is significant excitement at the potential of having a ride a few clicks away on your smartphone. As an avid one click purchaser on Amazon, Pea Pod, Grub Hub etc., I understand this excitement. There are also some concerns about ridesharing services taking business from existing taxi companies.

Local cab companies (in general) have some weaknesses. Late night and early morning cabs are often not available. The wait and not knowing when the cab will arrive can be frustrating. These issues are likely related to low demand for local cab services as well as the rural back roads and traffic of one lane highways. These same challenges will face Uber or Lyft operators. It’s hard to maintain services for one or two people who have a late night need for a ride. Uber and other ride-sharing companies may not have to go through the same vetting process as cab drivers nor carry the same insurance.

This being the year of the millennial, ridesharing is vital to attracting and maintaining millennials to the county. Competition is good and encourages better business practices. For example, Zillow is the “Uber” of my profession. Real estate companies that have survived have adjusted and thrived in this changing business dynamic. Similarly, people will choose the style of ride that works best for them. When my 13-year-old needs a ride, I’ll choose a cab driven by a driver that has been vetted and owned by a person I can get on the phone for higher accountability. On “girl’s nights out” I will probably opt for the ease of Uber. Seniors will probably stick to traditional cab service. Local restaurants and bars should benefit from the ease and privacy of ridesharing. The county executive is seeking cost reductions on rides for veterans and those with special needs, which has not happened with traditional cabs.

Ridesharing is the way of the future. It will be beneficial, yet it will have the same struggles of any business in any small county.


Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is a partner of J. Philip Real Estate and Founding Chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council.