22 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • DECEMBER 2019
LI’S DEMAND FOR SKILLED WORKERS CONTINUES
continued from page 21
With the new Boeing contract, Palazzolo
says, CPI will need another 10 to
15 more people to add to its approximately
300-member workforce. CPI is
hardly unique among manufacturing
companies on Long Island, who are
finding the job market now belongs to
job seekers. The 2020 outlook for such
employers, Palazzolo said, is gloomy.
“I don’t see much changing in the next
18 months,” he says.
Most employment experts agree.
“I’ve been doing this for 15 years,”
says Aron Zweback, owner and
strategic partner at Pride Staff in Melville.
“I’ve never seen it this tight. “So,
if you’re good, there's three or four
quality jobs out there for you.”
The tight market is hardly limited to
aerospace or manufacturing.
“At every level, from CEO to the loading
dock, there’s a huge demand for
labor,” Zweback says.
According to labor market experts,
the reasons are manifold: LI’s unemployment
rate is at historic lows, of
about 3.9 percent; many parents of
high-school-aged children have not
forgotten the trauma they felt at the
catastrophic job losses in the manufacturing
industry in the 1980s and ’90s,
and are reluctant to encourage their
kids to train for such jobs; colleges and
universities tend to promote high-tech
computer and software courses, not
classes in mechanical work.
“We certainly have a lot of companies
complaining about the lack of employees
to fill positions,” says Shital
Patel, principal economist and labor
market analyst for the New York State
Labor Department in Hicksville.
Of course, a lot depends on the industry.
The state Labor Department’s
10-year projection forecasts plenty of
job opportunities in industries such
as healthcare, business and financial
services, advertising and marketing,
at on-line retailing companies, and
in technology. But for those with
degrees in the humanities, positions
in higher education, for example, will
continue to be difficult to find in 2020.
Dory Agazarian of Glen Head, who
holds a doctorate in Modern European
History, has found this out the hard
way. Sitting in a Starbucks with her
laptop open to a jobs site, Agazarian
says she has been looking for months
without much luck. According to data
compiled by the American Historical
Association, there were only 57 openings
nationwide in 2018 for full-time college
level European History teachers.
“The situation is dire, as far as these
kind of jobs go,” says Agazarian,
who is “approaching middle age,”
and describes herself as angry. “I’m
a very good teacher and a scholar. But
I do not feel optimistic about getting
an academic job.”
The difficulty in finding qualified
workers is forcing many in the manufacturing
sector to offer flexible work
schedules, bonuses, and other incentives,
says Anne Shybunko-Moore,
chief executive officer of GSE Dynamics
Inc., a defense contractor in Hauppauge.
“I have six or seven jobs that need to
be filled now,” says Shybunko-Moore,
whose company employees about 75
“There continues to be a disconnect
with the way Long Island looks at manufacturing
jobs,” she says. “There’s a
perception they are low-level, lowskilled
jobs. A lot of people don’t understand
these are high-skilled positions.”
Agazarian may join the gig economy,
she says. “Maybe I should tutor and
give music lessons. I’m a classically
"There's a huge demand for labor,”
says Aron Zweback.
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