Top Ten Occupations in Tompkins County
In 2014 the average annual wage for all occupations in Tompkins County was $45,700. The highest paid occupation category was Management with an average of $98,100, and the lowest Food Prep & Service averaging $21,700. The occupation category in greatest demand was Education Training and Library needing about 250 new entrants annually, followed by Office and Administrative support (170) new entrants, Food Prep and Serving (165), and Sales (135). Healthcare practitioners and technical (90) and Management (85) have the next level of demand for new entrants.
The very large group of Education, Training and Library Occupations is comprised of:
Tompkins County Workforce Development Board
TCAD maintains a close partnership with the Tompkins County Workforce Development Board (WDB), and one-stop career center Tompkins Workforce NY. The WDB offers a comprehensive approach to workforce development. TCAD and WDB regularly visit with businesses to understand their business challenges. Finding the right employees is often a key issue. TCAD and WDB have also collaborated to create a workforce strategy that was released in 2010, available here.
The Changing Workforce Development Environment
Workforce development is a critical economic development activity. Both basic-skilled workers and workers with specific occupational skill sets are fundamental for the local economy to succeed.
In the workplace, technology has replaced many low-skilled jobs that used to provide family-supporting incomes and benefits. Today’s “basic-skilled” jobs tend to be in service occupations, working with the public. Thus, they require communication skills, ability to make decisions, teamwork skills, and high levels of integrity. Traditional blue-collar jobs in manufacturing, maintenance, or healthcare support occupations now require computer skills and ability to follow complex management or regulatory protocols.
Changing demographics require continuing change in the delivery of education and training. According to the US Census and Woods and Poole projections, the workforce-age population in Tompkins County was 85% white, and primarily native-born in 2000. By 2020 it is projected to drop to 75%. At the same time, the primarily white baby-boomer cohort, which is highly educated, will be well into a retirement surge. Equity in educational achievement remains a challenge for minority populations nationally and locally. Tompkins County schools and training programs are developing new approaches to prepare these diverse populations in career-readiness. For example Ithaca City School District increased its on-time graduation rate from 84% in 2014 to 94% in 2016. A new career oriented high-school, serving the County’s six school districts and beyond, will be initiated in the fall of 2018.
Workforce Development and Economic Development
The primary focus of the workforce development system is connecting local employers and the local labor market. However, a number of key occupations require specialized training and experience. Those occupations, such as professors, medical specialists, and technology or management professionals are often recruited from regional or even national labor markets.
TCAD’s 2015-2020 Economic Development Strategy identifies specific objectives that increase alignment between workforce development and economic development partners.
Objective B.1: Improve access to better labor market information for employed workers, job seekers and the emerging workforce.
Objective B.2: Foster greater engagement of employers in workforce development efforts.
Objective B.3: Strengthen the workforce development system.
Learn more about the Economic Development Strategy here.
 Separate and Unequal, July 31, 2013, Anthony Carnevale and Jeff Strohl, ICSD report card graduation rates.
“The Startup community in Ithaca is supportive and welcoming. Collectively, we have a massive amount of experience amongst the entrepreneurs here, and we are willing to share those experiences with others.” Brad Treat, Entrepreneur in Residence, Rev
- 45% have won competitive federal SBIR awards – over $50 million in competitive federal SBIR funding since 2005.
- 80% of Ithaca area startups have a significant Cornell connection (license, facility use, research partnership).
- Area has twelve times the national hit rate on SBIR awards per capita since 2005 (by $).
- With over ten-times the national average spending per capita, fundamental R&D is Tompkins County’s biggest natural resource for startup companies.
Small Business Development Council (SBDC)
TCAD worked with the SBDC at Binghamton University to establish a one-year pilot initiative placing a full-time technology business advisor in Ithaca. The pilot was so successful the initiative has continued. Lindsay Wolf is the SBDC Certified Business Advisor. Click here to schedule an appointment with Ms. Wolf.
Ithaca Venture Community
Inspired by the innovation and activity in Ithaca, the Ithaca Venture Community (IVC) has been a grassroots volunteer group with a mission of bringing together students and professional entrepreneurs in Ithaca to provide networking and growth opportunities.
Additional information may be found on the IVC’s Meet up page.
Rev: Ithaca Startup Works
Rev is a business incubator and the latest addition to our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Rev offers entrepreneurs a place to grow their business, providing access to expert advice and business development at an accelerated pace.
For more information, you can visit their website at www.revithaca.com