ONEIDA COUNTY, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – In the County Executive’s speech, he outlined what he calls a post-COVID agenda emphasizing attracting people to come live in Oneida county and focusing on managing the labor shortage.

“One of the most lasting and fundamental challenges that arose during the pandemic was the number of people who either left the workforce or decided it was time to change a career or how they work. the great resignation as it has been termed has left many employers putting this county government struggling to fill necessary positions,” said Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive.

The County Executive discussed a student loan relief benefit program. In the plan, he hopes to work with non-profit and private sector partners, and the community foundation. The County will use Federal Recovery Funds to finance the program.

“Together working with different partners and creating a fund to help draw down those loans more people will come home more people will work in an area where their money is going to go a lot further and not all of it is going to paying those loans,” said Picente.

Picente also proposed a U-District redevelopment corporation to expand the sports and entertainment district in Downtown Utica. The U-District would include the Adirondack Bank Center and Nexus Center, as well as the redevelopment of the Insight House Property on one end, and the creation of the REA Wing Food Emporium at Union Station on the other. In addition, to development this will create employment opportunities.

“We can’t just stop at building things we have to look at ways in which to grow the entire area and that’s why I think its important for us to start you know putting the seeds in the ground and not waiting,” said Picente.