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NY labor commissioner urges changes to bring in jobs

New York is determined to regain its stature as an economic development and job-creation hub again but faces some big challenges, state  Labor Commissioner Peter Rivera told a gathering of the business advocacy group Action Long Island Friday morning in Melville.

Those challenges include attracting more venture capital and business research dollars. New York attracts just 4 percent of venture capital investments nationwide, compared with 47 percent for California, Rivera said.

Those dismal numbers send the message that “if you’re looking for a job, go to California,” he said. “That’s where the opportunities are.”

Long Island has found it challenging to attract venture capital as well. In the 2012 fourth quarter, the Island received no venture capital investments, according to the MoneyTree report published by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association. For all of 2012, the Island attracted just three investments totaling $7.9 million

New York ranks 22nd in the nation on business-sponsored research, while North Carolina is first, Rivera said.

 “The future of business is venture capital, and the future of business is research,” he said.

One of the ways New York hopes to develop a more competitive edge is to bring together in the next couple of weeks businesses, the heads of universities and colleges and the state Education Department to talk about the role of higher education in preparing students to enter the labor force, Rivera said.

And he said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants to create economic “hot spots” with academic and business components for development and investments through the 10 regional economic councils, one of which is on Long Island.

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