Bosley Comments on the Local Economy
Stephanie Bosley, candidate for State Representative for the First Berkshire District issued a press release today pointing to the September 15 article in the Boston Globe on the Berkshire County economy. The article, titled “In Berkshire County, Locals Struggle as Tourism Booms”, reported on the struggles local county residents face when looking for employment while the tourism economy continues to grow.
Bosley said that she has been pointing this out on the campaign trail and has issued policy papers in reaction to this. “Anyone who talks to people in Berkshire County who are looking for a job should not find this article surprising”, commented Bosley. “I have been pointing to studies done in Berkshire County that list up to 6o% of available jobs are at or near minimum wage. Our local economy needs to offer better positions to sustain working families here.”
Bosley has said in the past that we need to train people for the jobs we want in Berkshire County rather than the jobs we have. She pointed to the need to bring more adult basic education money to the area as well as skills training for the jobs of the 21st century. “Jobs in bio-tech, clean energy and information technology are the jobs of the future and we need to train our residents for these.”
“The Globe article referenced the United Way job matching for county residents. However, we need to combine the work of the United Way with our local Career Center, BerkshireWorks as well as our area colleges and McCann Tech to coordinate our efforts to bring more jobs that pay a self-sufficient wage to the area. Governor Baker has cut the line item for Career Centers for the last three years. As a result, the Northern Berkshire office has been cut back and in an area where there is such tremendous need for services, this is not acceptable.”
Bosley also pointed to her call for a self-sufficiency study to be done on what a living wage is for the District and how we train people with that as a goal. In many cases, we are training people for jobs regardless of whether that job has a wage one can live on. That wastes money at a time when we should be placing more resources into job training.
Bosley also called for an increase in funding for the Cultural Facilities Fund. “While creating a strong economy with sustainable jobs is important, we also need to support our cultural economy. The Greylock Glen and the Mohawk Theater are two examples of projects that will help to bring people to our area.” Bosley pointed to the increase in home sales and local investment in Northern Berkshire as an example of how the creative economy helps to position this area for growth. “People are noticing this area and investing in our future. We need to be prepared for that and encourage that growth and investment.”
Bosley also noted that it is important for people to be able to get to their jobs. Our transportation infrastructure needs to be able to support those who work nights and weekends as well as students who are trying get to and from campus. “Transportation is a central piece of our economic development, our visitor economy, and our movement towards clean energy.” Bosley said. Stephanie has issued a position paper on Transportation that has introduced plans for more express routes, use of technology and train travel.