For the many visitors that say, “I would love to live here, find me a job,” I offer — the Adirondack Teleworks Project.
In October 2011, I attended the Forever Wired Conference at Clarkson University. Since more and more companies are moving employees to offsite locations, the first seminar on my list was on teleworking. The seminar was chaired by state Sen. Betty Little. The guest speaker was a Joshua Ball, the creator of Kentucky Teleworks. His project locates teleworking positions and helps match potential employees with employers.
For those not familiar with the term teleworking, it generally means using the Internet to do work at home, either as a self-employed person, or as an employee of a company located elsewhere.
The information furnished at the seminar provided the stimulus for creating the Adirondack Teleworks Project. The project, while started in Indian Lake, is intended to provide job opportunities to all persons living within the Blue Line and those interested in relocating to the Adirondack Park. This area encompasses 103 different municipalities.
In December 2011, the Adirondack Teleworks Project was privately funded and work began on the website. The website is intended to provide job listings, financial assistance information for businesses (existing or startups) located in the Park or those considering relocation to the Park, and training/education opportunities for individuals interested in becoming a teleworker and/or teleworkers interested in enhancing their skills.
Another aspect of teleworking is that they are “green” jobs. Teleworking jobs have an almost zero carbon footprint. This will allow conservation groups, such as the Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club, the opportunity to support this initiative. If we can create just one job in each town each year by 2017, we will have added more than 500 jobs to the Adirondack economy. And all of this is possible with a minimal impact on our environment.
It soon became evident that it would take a full-time person to manage the project. In May 2012, the Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce agreed to apply for an Americorps grant. If approved, the grant would help provide a full-time person to work on the project. In July, the grant was approved and a search began for a suitable individual to staff the position. As luck would have it, a recent graduate of Indian Lake Central School applied for the position. On October 1, 2012, the Americorps member began work full time on the project. As of this writing, there are more than 400 jobs posted on the website, with more being added every week.
The next step is to create educational opportunities. Teleworking jobs usually breakdown into two categories — those that require experience and education in a particular field, and those that present opportunities for entry-level positions. For the latter jobs, seminars in digital literacy and customer service are needed.
Teddy Roosevelt once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
That is the underlying motivation behind the Adirondack Teleworks Project. We already have good libraries and many good business groups. How can we help them be more effective? By using information supplied by employers to create the necessary seminars, we will be more efficient. The plan requires that the classes be available through a network of libraries inside the Blue Line. Promotion of the classes will be through chambers of commerce, business alliances and economic development entities. Going forward, we will be meeting with town officials, business groups and library officials throughout the Adirondack Park to help coordinate these efforts.
One last thought — As we travel around the Adirondack Park, we meet many people, groups and committees working hard to improve their local economies. If we represent each of these groups as a musician, then certainly within the Blue Line we have many fine musicians. What we do not have is an orchestra! There is too much duplication of effort and not enough coordination between groups. Too many violins and not enough French horns! Adirondack Teleworks intends to help all of these hard-working groups work in harmony.
For more information on the Adirondack Teleworks Project, or if you would like to be added to our mailing list, contact Alyssa Cuthbert at Indian Lake Chamber of Commerce by calling 648-5112 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.