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New Suffolk task force aims to boost manufacturing sector

Factories in the county face a lack of skilled workers and too many local regulations, said Legis. William J. Lindsay III, who will help lead the group.

Suffolk County is home to many drug manufacturers,

Suffolk County is home to many drug manufacturers, including Amneal Pharmaceuticals; technicians work in the company's laboratory in Yaphank on Nov. 13, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

Boosting the manufacturing sector in Suffolk County is the objective of a task force established last week by the county legislature.

Lawmakers unanimously approved a resolution, introduced by Legis. William J. Lindsay III, to create the 17-member Long Island Legislative Manufacturing Task Force.

Lindsay (D-Bohemia), who will help lead the task force, said it will seek to tackle issues that undercut factories, such as a lack of skilled workers and too many regulations from municipalities.

“Most people don’t realize how important manufacturing is in the county,” he said, adding that factory jobs often pay well.

Plants employed an average of 56,176 workers per year in Suffolk between 2011 and 2015, according to Census data.

In a study released this year, the Workforce Development Institute, an Albany-based nonprofit, found 8,373 job opening at factories in Nassau and Suffolk counties in the 12 months ended in July.

“When I speak with plant managers, they tell me the biggest problem they face is finding qualified individuals to fill open jobs,” Lindsay said Friday.

Other task force members include representatives of the county’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs, Department of Economic Development and Planning, the Industrial Development Agency, Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel and Workforce Development Board.

The legislature will appoint a manufacturer, who will lead the task force with Lindsay.

There also will be representatives of the commercial real estate industry, Long Island Farm Bureau and Long Island Wine Council.

The Manufacturing Consortium of Long Island, a local trade group, will be represented.

Consortium co-founder and chair Anne Shybunko-Moore hailed the task force’s creation, saying it would help formulate “a regional strategic plan for manufacturing” and help local plants become more competitive. She is president of defense contractor GSE Dynamics Inc. in Hauppauge.

Task force members will receive no compensation. The group is expected to meet for the first time next month.

The task force will disband by Dec. 31, 2018, after submitting recommendations to the legislature and County Executive Steve Bellone.

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