Steps cited as progress toward Vision 2020 blueprint

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Steps are occurring that means Oneida County’s Vision 2020 planning document is more than a study gathering dust on a shelf.

Released in July 2014, Vision 2020 was intended to be a blueprint for cultivating and attracting skilled workers, and promoting an entrepreneurial spirit and the renewal of communities in the county. Intended as a tool for capitalizing on new growth opportunities, it focused on three areas:

  • education and training,
  • access and opportunity,
  • and housing.

There are references throughout the report to the expected growth of the nanotechnology industry in the region. Since the report came out, an Austrian company selected the Marcy Nanocenter for a semiconductor plant and is expected to start producing computer chip wafers in 2018.

Two years after the release of Vision 2020, County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. points to:

– Adoption of tax incentives to spur development of lofts and other mixed-use projects and support for neighborhood revitalization around the county.

– Expansion of college dual credit offerings in high schools and the development of multiple career pathways to incorporate current and new career clusters.

– An 80 percent increase to more than 1,000 internships offering real-world learning experiences for students.

– Better alignment of English as a Second Language programs with the needs of English language learners.

“As phase one implementation continues to make great progress in education and training, access to opportunity and housing, we have expanded our sights and launched phase two, which is focused on developing solutions to our transportation needs,” said Picente. “Our transportation amenities will consider the needs of everyone, from the new millennial workforce to senior citizens, and those who desire or need alternatives to traditional auto travel to move about the county.”

Three committees have begun to look at improving and expanding the county’s transportation network. The panels are looking at:

–  Connectivity: Chaired by Paul Romano, project manager at O’Brien & Gere, the panel is examining how the county’s existing infrastructure might be enhanced to better meet the current and future transportation needs of residents and travelers.

–  Alternatives to automobiles: Chaired by Bethan Maher, executive director of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, the committee is focusing on providing diverse and enhanced transportation modes to meet the needs of the expanding community and workforce.

– Accessibility: Chaired by Debra Altdoerffer, vice president of communications and development for Mohawk Valley Health System, the committee is studying the availability of consistent and reliable means of transportation for all residents and employees within Oneida County.

“Thanks to the leadership of County Executive Picente and the dedication of our committee volunteers, we’re ready to embrace change and collectively obtain our prosperous future,” said Vision 2020 Co-chair Randy VanWagoner, Mohawk Valley Community College president.

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